Pushing Parents to Be Parents

PSAs Encourage Taking Responsibility to Help Teens Steer Clear of Drugs

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In a new campaign, "Time to Be a Parent," Toy New York is partnering with the Partnership for a Drug-Free America to encourage parents to play an active role in helping to keep their kids drug-free by being more than just a friend to children.

In two new TV spots that will roll out nationally on donated media, parents and teens are shown hanging out as friends when the teens casually mention their drug use. The spots end by telling parents that "it's time to be a parent again" and directing them online for more information.

Ari Merkin, founding partner and chief creative officer of Toy New York, says the agency believes the PSAs highlight an important issue that hasn't really been discussed. "These days, everybody's 30--listening to the same music, watching the same TV shows," he says. "It's natural for parents to want to look cool to their kids."

At the same time, Mr. Merkin says, "One of the most important words a child can hear from a parent is no. We wanted to capture that moment where a parent is in a compromised position and remind them of their responsibility as parents."

Toy worked with production company The Cartel and the Snorri Bros to produce the 15- and 30-second spots, with post-production by PS 260, Nutmeg, Company 3 and Brandname.

"It's been a passion of ours to get [the PSAs] made," Mr. Merkin says. "It's great to be your kid's friend as long as it doesn't get in the way of your responsibility to be a parent, and I think that message comes through."

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