ONDCP Debuts 2 New TV Spots

The White House Office of National Drug Control Policy is launching two new TV commercials as part of its branding campaign titled, “What’s Your Anti-drug?”

The spots are the second phase of a $20 million effort that invites teenagers to develop their own messages about what keeps them off drugs [Ad-week, Aug. 28].

Merkley Newman Harty in New York created the spots, which feature animation and target 11- to 13-year-olds.

“Music,” which debuts today, features a cartoon teen wearing headphones while listening to loud music. As he strolls down a street in a three-dimensional Terminator-style environment, he is approached by bugs who try to give him drugs. The sound waves from his headphones help destroy the threat.

The spot then flashes to a real teenager, who says, “Hello, my name is Alberto. My anti-drug is music.”

A second spot, “Dance,” uses a similar approach. A young girl fo-cuses on her dancing to fend off two boys who try to give her a bag of marijuana and some pills.

Both spots will air during Sa-brina the Teenage Witch, Buffy, Moesha and Dawson’s Creek.

Three more commercials, followed by a print and radio effort, will break next April.

“The animation allows us to make the anti-drug come alive,” said Marty Orzio, Merkley’s creative director. “To put kids on television and [simply have them] talk about what they are into would not be compelling in an age when teens are inundated with commercials.”

Merkley, working with the ONDCP and the Partnership for a Drug-Free America, selected the teens’ messages that appear in the spots from winning submissions in a contest that be-gan in August. More than 400 teens participated.

“We wanted the ads to not only be entertaining, but inspirational,” said Beatrice Bartolotta, the Partnership’s deputy director of creative development.

The next three ads will focus on more intangible themes, such as self-esteem, family and friends.