Converse with Frank is the extensive running anti-drug movement the UK has had. Has it managed to get people to quit substance abuse?
A police Swat team in the UK burst into a kitchen of a quiet suburban home, and the results were a complete turnaround of the way drug education was done for good. The doom and gloom teachings coupled with pushing to keep away from the drug pushers who are everywhere was thrown out. A lighter, more humorous approach was used instead.
The first advert featured a boy calling the police snatch squad on his mother because she wanted to discuss drugs with him. The message, "Drugs are illegal. Talking about them isn't. So Talk to Frank", was brand new as well.
An idea that started with someone's mother, Frank was now the new name of the National Drugs Helpline. Young people were meant to feel Frank was a helpful elder brother they could trust and from whom they could seek advice on illegal drugs. In the bid to make the Frank label a very popular one among the young people in the country, programs like the tour round a brain house, and Pablo the canine drugs mule were all incorporated.
Significantly, Frank was never found in the flesh, so would never be the objective of joke for wearing the wrong trainers or attempting to be "down with the children," says Justin Tindall, inventive director of ad organization Leo Burnett. Surprisingly, the funny imitations of the Frank videos found on YouTube are quite polite. Also, there's no sign that Frank is a government agent - something that is rare in the history of campaigns paid for by government.
Drugs instruction has progressed significantly since Nancy Reagan, and in the UK, the cast of Grange Hill asked adolescents to "Simply Say No" to drugs, a movement which numerous specialists now considers was counterproductive.
The majority of the advertisements in Europe currently concentrate, like Frank, on attempting to share objective info to assist youngsters to make their own choices. You still see pictures of prison bars and upset parents, though, in countries where dealing drugs will get you in serious trouble with the law. You play, you pay is a campaign that was launched in Singapore recently.
In the UK, the Above the Influence campaign has cost the federal government millions of dollars and uses humour and cautionary stories to encourage people to choose positive alternatives to drugs The focus of the campaign is to talk to the youth in a language they understand, like the one ad showing a group of "stoners" stranded on a coach. But the drug fuelled descent into hell and scare tactics are still used by a surprisingly large number of campaigns around the world. The DrugsNot4Me series recently launched a commercial in Canada that shows a beautiful, self-assured young lady metamorphosis after using "drugs" into a shaking, hollow-eyed mess.
According to studies into a United States anti-drugs campaign between 1999 and 2004, advertisements showing the undesirable effects of substance abuse can frequently urge younger people who are marginalised to experiment with substances.
Frank made brand new ground - and received a lot of criticism from the conservative opposition politicians at that time - for being brave enough to put forward that substances might provide highs and lows.
"Cocaine makes you feel on top of the world" was used in one of the early internet ad campaigns.
It wasn't at all times simple to balance the message correctly. Matt Powell was the creative director of digital agency Profero, the company that came up with the cocaine ad; he now thinks he miscalculated the time an average user spends on browsing the internet. A few people might have stayed around for the animation's end to discover more regarding the undesirable effects. However, the goal of the ad was to be upfront with young people about the effects of drugs so that Frank could establish some accountability.
According to the Home Office, up to 67% of teenagers preferred to talk to Frank if drug advice becomes necessary. In 2011 and 2012, Frank received 225,892 calls and 3,341,777 visits to the website. It is evidence that the method is effective.
But, we don't have any proofs that people have quit drug consumption because of Frank, just as we don't have such evidence in cases of other media campaigns against drugs.
More than 9% drop has been witnessed in the country since the campaign came into place, but a drop in the use of cannabis has been given as an explanation for this, probably because teenagers are changing their approach towards tobacco smoking.
FRANK is a national service that offers drug education and was formed in 2003 by the Department of Health in partnership with Home Office of the British government. It's main aim is to inform young people about the dangers of alcohol and drugs, so as to bring down the rate of consumption of both legal and illegal drugs. FRANK has run lots of media campaigns on radio and the internet.
FRANK gives the accompanying services to individuals who look for data and/or advice regarding drugs: