Converse with Frank is the extensive running anti-drug movement the UK has had. But has it actually worked and stopped drug use?
A decade ago a police SWAT team slammed into a peaceful kitchen somewhere in the suburbs and modified the image of drugs education in the United Kingdom for always. Grim warnings about how drugs could mess you up and genuine pleas to resist the pushers that were creeping around every playground were gone. Instead, wit and fun including games were embraced.
The first advert presented an adolescent inviting the police to come and arrest his mum because the mum wanted them to talk about drugs. The message was new as well: "Drugs are illicit. Discussing them isn't. So Talk to Frank."
Devised by the advertising agency, Mother, Frank was actually the National Drugs Helpline brand new name. It was intended to be a put stock in "elder brother" assumes that youngsters could swing to for advice concerning illegal substances. To become a familiar brand with youth in the UK, the Frank label has presented everything from the adventures of pablo the drug mule to a tour of a brain warehouse.
According to the creative director, Justin Tindall, of the advertising agency, Leo Burnett, it was important that Frank was at no time seen in the flesh so that he could never be the victim of ridicule for wearing the incorrect shoes or attempting to be "down with the kids". Surprisingly, the funny imitations of the Frank videos found on YouTube are quite polite. There's also no indication that Frank is working for the government, which is unusual for a government funded campaign.
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.
Like the Frank campaign, most European ads now focus on giving unbiased information so that young people can make up their own minds. In places that have harsh penalties for being in possession, pictures/photos of prison cells and embarrassed parents remain common. You play, you pay is a campaign that was launched in Singapore recently.
In the United States of America, the federal government has spent millions of dollars on a long-running campaign, Above the Influence, that sells positive possibilities to using substances by making use of a combination of funny and cautionary stories. 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 scare tactics is still prevalent in majority of the campaigns against drugs around the globe, especially the "descent into hell" which is drug inspired. 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.
Research that was done on a UK anti-drug campaign between 1999 and 2004 shows that describing the negative effects of abuse will often actually encourage young people "on the margins of society" to use drugs.
By demonstrating how the drugs affect the use, giving the highs and lows, Frank was not supported by the Conservative politicians on the new path it had taken.
"Cocaine makes you feel on top of the world" was used in one of the early internet ad campaigns.
It was not generally simple to get the balance of the message accurate. The man in arrears the cocaine advertisement, Matt Powell, then creative director of digital agency Profero, now disbelieves he overvalued the focus span of the ordinary web browser. It is difficult for some to view the ad till the last point where the dangers of drug use were listed. However, Powell says the point was to be more legitimate with youngsters about medications, keeping in mind the end goal to build up the believability of the Frank brand.
According to the Home Office, up to 67% of teenagers preferred to talk to Frank if drug advice becomes necessary. 225,892 calls were made to the Frank helpline and 3,341,777 visits to the site in 2011/12. These figures provide proof that the Frank approach bears results.
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.
During the decade that the Frank campaign was introduced, drug abuse figures in the UK have reduced by 9%; however, much of the decline has been attributed to a reduction in the use of cannabis as the more youth shun smoking tobacco.
FRANK is a national drug education program that was established at the Home Office of the British Government and the Department of Health in 2003. FRANK's vision is to equip the youth with the bold facts and knowledge about the legal and illegal use of narcotics to reduce the drug use. FRANK has run lots of media campaigns on radio and the internet.
FRANK provides the following services for people who seek information and/or advice about drugs: