ANTI-DRUG EFFORT TAKES AIM AT PARENTS: WHITE HOUSE SAYS COORDINATION IS KEY TO ITS SUCCESS

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The White House anti-drug campaign undergoes the biggest change in its short life this week -- aiming more messages at parents, giving fewer ads more frequent airing and emphasizing one theme at a time.

New print ads from the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy seek to reinforce parents' convictions that they play an important role in their children's lives.

Similar TV advertising breaks Sept. 20.

With Ogilvy & Mather, New York, now planning media, the single-theme creative will run in roughly six-week flights. Each message will be carried out in a coordinated radio, TV, outdoor, newspaper and Internet campaign.

Fewer ad executions will be seen more often.

TOO MANY DIFFERENT ADS

"We found there were too many different ads on too many different subjects," said Alan Levitt, senior division chief for the education branch of the anti-drug office.

He said research conducted on the initial 12-city campaign and the national campaign that began in July 1998 showed a need for a stronger, more coordinated message.

The anti-drug office is spending about $150 million a year on ads with the media asked to kick in an equal amount in time or space.

Shona Seifert, O&M's executive group director, said the flighting of messages copies a practice that hasn't been used much for PSAs.

Mr. Levitt said such coordination also can help local officials and groups plan events to tie in to a current message.

However, ads directed to kids may get one theme different from that aimed at adults.

BRANDING 'THE ANTI-DRUG'

The anti-drug office also is looking into trying to brand the work with the term "the anti-drug." It's looking into similar branding for its kids messages.

The change to a coordinated message has prompted a major change in the way the Partnership for a Drug-Free America works with ad agencies. Traditionally, a volunteer shop would create an ad -- and absorb production costs -- and the partnership, using individual ads, would create a full package for the media. Now agencies will be asked to produce a full integrated campaign -- print, broadcast and Internet work.

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