ONDCP Takes Anti-Drug Message to the Olympics

WASHINGTON — The White House breaks three new TV spots today in its anti-drug media campaign that feature athletes who say they would never have had a chance to compete if they used drugs.

The work-set to run during the Winter Olympics-was created by McCann-Erickson in New York, and developed through the Partnership for a Drug-Free America. The campaign will run until March 10.

In the spots, body cameras are attached to the athletes so they can be filmed in action as they simultaneously talk.

In the first spot, skier Chad Fleischer races down a slope at more than 50 miles per hour. “I haven’t had a vacation, potato chip, candy or fast food in two-and-a-half years,” he says through gritted teeth. “Do you think I’d ever mess with drugs?” He then pauses, before knocking on the camera lens to say, “Helloooo.”

Two other spots feature speed skater Apolo Ohno and snowboarder Rosey Fletcher. As he skates, Ohno says in the second spot: “Am I a speed skater? Yes. Did I skate when they said I couldn’t skate? Yes. Did I skate my way to a World Cup Victory? Yes. Could I have skated this far if I’d ever done drugs? Pleassssse.”

The third opens with a bluegrass version of the national anthem. Fletcher is on her snowboard as she talks about her dedication. “I don’t remember the last time I went to a party,” she says. “I don’t train twice a day to look good for the guys. You know why I don’t do drugs? Because I’ve got one song stuck in my head,” referring to the music she will hear if she wins a gold medal.

This campaign follows two 30-second ads the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy aired during yesterday’s Super Bowl that illustrate how money used to buy drugs could aid terrorists in their work [Adweek, Jan. 21].

“We have all seen cameras strapped on athletes, but we have never seen athletes actually speak to the camera while performing an event,” said Doug Hill, a creative director at McCann. “The Partnership and ONDCP kept asking, ‘Can you pull this off?’ and we kept saying, ‘yes’ while crossing our fingers.”