St Luke’s has emerged as the surprise winner of the Government’s
anti-drugs push, beating the award-winning incumbent, Duckworth Finn
Grubb Waters, BMP DDB, and Ogilvy & Mather.
The appointment comes in the same week that the drugs ’czar’, Keith
Hellawell, faces criticism over his ten-year drug strategy after the
latest figures showed a sharp increase in drug-related crime.
The advertising task, the pounds 2.5 million promotion of the Department
of Health’s National Drugs Helpline, was widely expected to go to
Duckworth Finn after its work scooped the top prize at the IPA
Advertising Effectiveness Awards in 1998.
Duckworth Finn’s campaign highlighted the effects of using different
kinds of drugs such as ecstasy on the mind and body and featured the
line, ’know the score’.
But the win proved controversial, with some questioning if the
advertising was directly responsible for claims such as an pounds 11
million saving for British industry by cutting down on drug-related
The ads appeared in the youth press and on radio and marked the
Government’s first full-scale offensive against recreational drug use
after the death of the ecstasy victim, Leah Betts.
But the new campaign is intended to take a very different approach. The
Government wants to encourage young people to seek advice and
information via a national telephone helpline.
It is hoped that by providing accurate information, young people will be
able to weigh up the risks and make up their own minds about drug
’The danger with ads that mention specific drugs is that you end up
promoting them,’ a government source said.
It is understood that the advice line will be the main focus of the
Department of Health’s anti-drugs strategy. St Luke’s has been appointed
to create a non-patronising but exciting way of encouraging 11- to
16-year-olds to use the service.
There are two target groups within the age band: young people who have
taken drugs, and those who are tempted to try but are unwilling to
discuss the issue with older people such as their parents.
The first work will be a pounds 400,000 radio campaign with other
activity including press set to follow later in the year.
Previous campaigns have been controlled by the Health Education
Authority (HEA) which is in the process of becoming the Health
Advertising work is being overseen by the Department of Health, in
partnership with the COI.
Both St Luke’s and Duckworth Finn were unavailable for comment.