Idiotic Drug-free America Ad

Setting: Some random “Dad’s” library at home with 2 teenage kids in it. One has a bong with smoke billowing out of it on a sofa with his back to us… One kid facing us at a desk in a swivel chair.

The scene skips forward 2 maybe three times with the guys chuckling and the chair squeaking repeatedly.

All of the sudden the kid at the desk has a pistol in his hand.

Desk kid: “Wow, look at this”

Bong kid: “Cool, is it loaded?”

Desk kid: “I don’t kn…BAM”

Black screen

Voice over: “Sometimes drugs can mess with your sense of reasoning”
[size=2]From the Partnership for a Drug-free America[/size]

OK.OK. That’s not verbatim, but probably not too far off, but WTF?

The bong did not slide a magazine in that 9mm, cock and fire it, presumably, killing the Bong kid. Some stupid ass left a loaded weapon, in his house, in an unlocked desk drawer with teenage kids living there. The fucking father must have partaken of the herb earlier, screwed up his reasoning, and left the gun there.

This may go without saying. Here goes: Do they all think we are complete and total brainless morons?

“Well, honey that settles it then. I am definitely going to tell little Tommy not to smoke that wicked Marryjowana as it could kill 'em. If he tries to sass me, I may have to pistol whip him, though.”

That one has surpassed the “By buying drugs we are supporting terrorists. You don’t want to support those meanies, do you?” commercial that the federal govt. debuted during the Super Bowl.

Ugh!, which is the word I would normally employ here does not suffice to display my maxed out levels of irritation. So how about: Jesus, squeeze us!

Just goes to show you, no Public Service Announcement about anything has ever worked at all. Most just make you want to take up a habit or beat your wife to spite the producers of these commercials.

There was actually a study that found that one of the national Drug Free campaigns was having no effect whatsoever.

On a side note. I was busy raving about the commercial after it aired. My wife started laughing and my 18 mo. old daughter was sitting in her Hi-chair and I realized she had said something while she munched on Cheerios. She is just learning to sound out words we repeat to her or she hears us say often.

Excerpt from above scene:

Bong kid: “Is it loaded”

Desk kid: “I don’t kn…BAM!”

My Angel: “Uh, Ooooohhh.”

Black screen…

Needless to say, much of my venom went away, but now that she is in bed I found it again.

Worse. You know those stupid anti-tobacco ads? TRUTH? I loathe those, especially the one where the woman abandons the crying baby that turns out to be a doll with a note pinned giving second hand smoke stats. Anyway, these stupid-as-hell ads are apparently working. They’ve actually made the biggest difference yet seen in teens smoking stats.

So now the people behind the TRUTH anti-cigarrette ads are doing the anti-drug ads. And those are the ads you guys are talking about.

Spread Truth.

Nicotine-laden tobacco: far more damaging than any schedule 3 drug, yet mysteriously legal.

It’s interesting just how bad a lot of the anti-drug ads are. I think the core reason they suck so bad is that there is a political bias against addressing a core issue: a lot of people enjoy drugs; drugs can create (often a temporary) state of happiness. Even if you believe that the evils of drugs outweigh the pleasures, to just DENY that there are any pleasures is foolish, and not supported by millenia of human experience. This seems to be a common problem in American politics - I often feel like advocates are always all or nothing: “my position is 100% correct and any slight deviation is 100% wrong and evil”. In fact, I’ve heard people (like Bill O’Reilly, whom I hate) taking the position that saying anything positive about drugs is “encouraging bad behavior”. If you wear blinders and refuse the see the upsides of things you oppose (and refuse to see the potential merits of the opposing position) then you can only blame yourself when your “solutions” keep failing and failing and failing and…

I mean we’ve had what, 20+ solid years of heavy duty anti-drug enforcement, highly funded anti-drug propaganda, increased enforcement, mandatory minimum sentences, military intervention, etc, and have we made any real lasting reductions in overall drug use (of the heavy drugs- I know marijuana has declined from its 70s peaks)? For the stuff like coke, crack, speed, heroin and so on its my understanding that we haven’t really made any substantial long term reductions as compared to the beginning of the drug war.

Oh well. I guess we’ll just keep living in denial and shoveling useless and blind propaganda at the problem.


And now, in the interest of being positive, I’m going to relate my favorite anti-drug ad.

28 year old kid holding bong is talking to two younger kids and telling them that he’s been smoking pot for 10 years and nothing has ever happened to him.

Then a woman’s voice calls from downstairs. He busily waves his hands to disperse the smoke: “Son? Did you get a job today?”

White letters fade in: Marijuana - nothing ever happens to you.

So… true.

Those truth ads are obnoxious as hell. I almost hate to hear they are working. I guess the in-your-face MTV, reality TV, Jack-ASS watching kids like that kind of schtick in entertainment and as life affirming tools.

“I mean, when I thought I was just going to get cancer and a few less popular diseases from the tar and nicotine, I had my reservations about smoking. When the Truth kids told me I was also smoking pee-pee, I threw my pack of Kools right out the window. Cigarettes are bio-degradeable, right?”

My poor little girl is going to act stupid and like these same ignorant things to be popular, isn’t she? Oh, the horror!

Worse. You know those stupid anti-tobacco ads? TRUTH? I loathe those, especially the one where the woman abandons the crying baby that turns out to be a doll with a note pinned giving second hand smoke stats. Anyway, these stupid-as-hell ads are apparently working. They’ve actually made the biggest difference yet seen in teens smoking stats.

Yup. One of these days I’m going to hunt down these people and beat the shit out of them. I’ve never smoked, never had any desire too, but I find those adds personally insulting. The worst part is they completely ignore the whole personal responcibility angle. 400,000 people are killed a year by Tobacco? Uh, no. 400,000 smoke themselves to death a year. There’s a difference. And I doubt any connection between statistics and these advertisements.

I’m pretty tired of these obscene, baseless lawsuits where idiots are reward for their own stupidity with trillions of dollar (almost not an exageration). Anyone with a legitimate complaint is probably already dead.

Agreed. Of course the lawyers would argue otherwise.

I’m pretty impressed with the Truth ads myself. When I studied advertising in college one of our projects was to design an anti-smoking campaign for teens. My college being in Richmond this was a little gutsier than it sounds. The angle I came up with was very much like what the Truth guys are doing - except maybe not as ‘street theatre’. You see, I really believe that most kids, who are the targets of this campaign, may not know as much as you or I about who the tobacco industry is. One thing all kids are sensitive to is being made a fool of - especially by adults. Coming out with a visually memorable way of illustrating some of the less appetizing facts about smoking - and those folks who are making a killing by, well, killing you is a good way of communicating the message.

And, as has been noted, this message is working.

I’m pretty fond of the Truth commercials, myself. I don’t know why, admittedly, but as someone who is pretty anti-cigarettes, there’s something about those commercials I like. Something about just cutting to the chase…

No offense to those who smoke (and that includes several of my good friends), but I wish cigarettes were illegal. At the very least, illegal in public places. (Yes, I know, in some states they are.)

You see, I really believe that most kids, who are the targets of this campaign, may not know as much as you or I about who the tobacco industry is.

You mean Nabisco?

but I wish cigarettes were illegal.

Get your laws off my body!!! (this would work better if you were notoriously pro-choice)

Look, kids smoke because it looks cool. They know it will kill them, they don’t care. Maybe they all figure in 50 years they can sue and take home 12 billion dollars. See, all these tobacco lawsuits are just encouraging teens to light up!

Drugs and cigarettes should both be government regulated and taxed. It wouldn’t be very cool to buy your government-produced cancer stick at the pharmacy, would it?

Marijuana: far less addictive and more beneficial than many drugs legally used as perscription painkillers, but mysteriously not legal, and deemed unworthy even for medical purposes.

Don’t ask it to make sense. It doesn’t.

[quote=“Brad Grenz”]

Look, kids smoke because it looks cool.

Not quite. I agree that they may smoke their first cigarette because their friends are, or McCelebrity DuJour did in that movie, or whatever. But they smoke their second cigarette because of the nicotene-induced buzz. Myself, I’m a casual smoker. That means I have a pack of cigarettes sitting in a drawer at my house and it will last a month (or one night if I’m drinking with friends). Why do I smoke? Because it feels good. The same reason people smoke marijuana or drink beer.

Legalize pot? No. The last thing you need is someone legally encouraging kids to get Chinese-eyed and goofy. What would the ad campaigns look like?

Look, kids smoke because it looks cool. They know it will kill them, they don’t care.

They know they’ve been told that, and it’s somewhere in the back of their mind. Showing a pile of body bags and pointing out that that’s the daily death toll from smoking brings that (deservedly) back to the front, demanding consideration and allowing a more relevant choice.

“That stuff will kill you”

“yeah yeah… I know”

“No, really. Kill. Dead. Think about it.”

I mean, hell, it’s still their choice. All this does is match the industry’s effective, feel-good advertising with an equally effective counter. I applaud the Truth guys for it.

I see where you are coming from, but…
Kids do not like being made a fool of by adults, but being talked down to and/or patronized by their peers using obnoxious ads seems just as bad. I guess other teens treating them as being ignorant to the hazards of smoking is preferable than being told by your parents. Maybe the ads are targeting the stupid kids who cannot connect the dots of cigarettes = cancer = pre-mature, agonizing death.

I like the ads better that have a group of kids sitting around, one sparks up, and asks if he/she wants a toke. The kid stops their conversation with the group, says no thanks, and continues talking. The peer pressure and danger of doing something bad gets the kids to smoke. Showing that it is not a necessary act in a social gathering and that life goes on as normal when you do “Just say no” makes more sense to me.

Hundreds of body bags or crawling wind up dolls seem like, as you said, “theater” that is not realistic. It may make them giggle and think, “Huh, didn’t know that” for a second and maybe not smoke that day. However, when presented with the option in a group setting again, I believe the “no thanks” commercial will stick with them more than the cup full of Urea the Truth kids were trying to get Cigarette execs to drink. Yeah it is funny and over-the-top , but it seems pretty shallow, disposable and easily forgotten.

OTOH, maybe I am just old and no longer the in touch, hip, and edgy cat of my youth. Kids still call each othe “cats and kittens”, right?

That is a good ad.

My point, which I may not have made entirely clear in my ramblings, is that the death/cancer angle seems like such a far off and unlikely possibility. Teens have that whole invulnerability thing going and the concept of something as small as smoking a few cigarettes now causing death in 30-40 years does not compute. Zeroing in on the “sure people do it, but that does not mean you have to” angle of the ad I cited appears more plausible, IMO.