Talk To Frank is an anti-drugs campaign in the United Kingdom that has been running for the longest time. Has it managed to get people to quit substance abuse?
Ten years prior a police Swat group collided with a calm suburban kitchen and transformed the substance of medication education in the UK until the end of time. People were seriously warned to stay away from the drug peddlers around sports arenas and that they could be destroyed by drugs. 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."
Frank: Friendly Confidential Drug Advice
Devised by the advertising agency, Mother, Frank was actually the National Drugs Helpline brand new name. The idea was to build a reliable "older brother" image that could provide advice to teenagers about banned 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". Even the sham Frank videos on YouTube are moderately deferential. As there is nothing that remotely suggests Frank is a government project, the campaign is viewed as a first occurrence funded by the government.
Right from the days of Nancy Reagan, a lot has been done about drugs education, and the Grange Hill cast which a lot of people opine that it did more harm than good, simply encouraged people to "Just Say No" to drugs.
Frank has set the standard, and now most adverts in Europe are using the same format to equip the youth with unbiased facts to help in making their choices. In places that have harsh penalties for being in possession, pictures/photos of prison cells and embarrassed parents remain common. For example, in Singapore, a recent campaign recently told young people, "You play, you pay."
In the UK, the government has burned through millions on Above the Influence, a long-running movement that urges positive contrasting options to drug usage utilizing a blend of amusement and useful examples. One ad shows a group of "stoners" sitting on a sofa and emphasizes talking to young people in the language of their generation. Though, an unexpected number of anti-drug campaigns all over the globe still resort back to strategies intended to arouse fear or alarm, specifically the substance-fuelled plunge to hell. A good example is a Canadian commercial that appeared recently and formed part of the DrugsNot4Me series in which a beautiful, self-assured young woman changes into a trembling, hollow-eyed skeleton because of "drugs".
A study carried out in the UK on anti-drugs campaign that ran between 1999 and 2004 shows that adverts that portray the negative results of drug use influence vulnerable youth to try out with the drugs.
Frank was ground-breaking and criticised by Conservative politicians at the time because they felt it suggest that there were some good things to go along with all the bad about drugs.
"Cocaine makes you feel on top of the world" was used in one of the early internet ad campaigns.
Understanding the true information behind the message was very difficult. According to the then creative director of digital agency Profero, Matt Powell, who designed the ad, he was wrong in believing that a normal web user has an adequate attention span. The negative effects were given at the end of the animated ad and some viewers might not have watched the whole thing. The idea behind the ad according to Powell is to make the Frank brand a more honest one by being sincere to teenagers about drugs.
According to the Home Office, up to 67% of teenagers preferred to talk to Frank if drug advice becomes necessary. Frank helpline received 225,892 phone calls and 3,341,777 hits on the website in the period 2011-2012. These figures provide proof that the Frank approach bears results.
However, just like every other anti-drugs campaign in the world , there's no evidence that Frank has actually stopped people from taking drugs.
Substance use in the United Kingdom has decreased by 9% in the ten years since the campaign was introduced, though the pros say a lot of this is because of a decline in the use of cannabis use, probably connected to younger people's changing attitudes towards smoking tobacco.
What Is Frank?
FRANK was launched in 2003 as a collaborated effort of the Department of Health and Home Office of the British government as a national drug education service. It was designed to lower the rate of both legal and illegal drug use by providing education to teenagers and young people about what the effects of using drug and alcohol could be. Several media campaigns on the web and on radio have been put out by this programme.