Partnership PSAs Find ‘New Voice’

Teens experimenting with drugs or alcohol might not identify with a junkie twitching on the floor of a squalid hotel room, but the Partnership for a Drug Free America is hoping raw images like that will prompt kids to question whether they are in control.

Two PSAs from Ground Zero, part of the “Check yourself” campaign, “are not the traditional advertising the Partnership does,” said client rep Lisa Merchant. “This is designed to reach a very specific audience for whom the traditional, prevention-type ad doesn’t resonate.”

Noam Murro directed the spots, which will ship to media outlets nationwide in two weeks. In “Hotel,” which features the twitching junkie, the guy jumps up and says, “Just because you get high doesn’t mean you’ll end up like this. But did you ever wake up so wrecked, you swear you’ll never do it again?”

“Car Crash” shows the driver of a wrecked car lying bleeding on a road next to his girlfriend. He gets up and says, “Not everyone who gets high is gonna get out of control and end up here. I get that. But do you think you could go, like, a day without weed or X or whatever? How about a whole weekend?” Both spots end with the guys asking, “Sure you’re in control?”

“One of our charges was to find a new voice for this campaign,” said creative director Arty Tan, explaining that the spots are intended to sound like a “Been there, done that” message from a sibling. He said the ads, which will remain in rotation for about a year, capitalize on research that shows teens harbor doubts about how well they are regulating their drug and alcohol use.

“Check yourself” launched a year ago with a Bartle Bogle Hegarty spot that showed a girl getting a nosebleed in class as copy asked, “Still in control?”