ONDCP Ties Terrorism to Drugs

WASHINGTON — An anti-drug ad being filmed last week for the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy links the issue of drugs with terrorism and could air during this year’s Super Bowl, sources said.

The media buy for the spot, created by ONDCP’s lead shop Ogilvy & Mather in New York, is “in negotiations,” one source said.

The spot is being directed by Tony Kaye. A Kaye representative confirmed he is working on an “anti-drug, anti-terrorism” spot, but declined to elaborate. Ogilvy referred calls to the client. ONDCP officials could not be reached by press time.

Footage shot last week featured clean-cut, all-American-looking actors citing lines similar to “I helped kill children in Ecuador.” It is believed that such images are meant to illustrate the notion that drug use could be funding terrorism.

The strategy to link drugs with terrorism is based on research that shows the drug trade has become a major way to raise money for such activities. A survey conducted by the Partnership for a Drug-Free America, for example, found that if parents understood the link, they would be more likely to talk to their kids about drugs. What’s more, teens said if they understood the connection, they would be less likely to use drugs.

The Partnership is testing whether developing ads based on the research would be effective. Although the Partnership typically reviews all creative work done for ONDCP’s campaign, it is not working on this spot. “The Partnership is not involved in the production of it,” said Stephen Pasierb, president and CEO of the organization. “This is being handled exclusively by Ogilvy and ONDCP.”

ONDCP launched a review after Ogilvy became the subject of a Department of Justice probe into its billing practices last year, but has extended Ogilvy’s contract until April 3.

Ogilvy has also prepared anti-terrorism ads for the U.S. Department of State’s “Rewards for Justice” program, working with Charlotte Beers, undersecretary of public diplomacy. Ogilvy’s print and radio ads began appearing last month.

-with Mallorre Dill