Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Not even once

I recently stumbled across, a website that’s part of Thomas M. Siebel’s campaign to help end teenagers’ curiosity to try crystal meth for the first time. He first launched his campaign in Montana and did a documentary for HBO called “Montana Meth”. The campaign has since then launched nationally into the internet, radio commercials and billboards. But what really grabbed my attention were the T.V. ads.

Focused on dark situations and perceptions that are influenced by just trying meth once, the 30-second ads artistically portray their characters and situations in various themes and genres. All of them are entertaining (as well as message-driven), but these following few are my favorites:

Bathroom - This one has kind of an old-school horror movie feel. She finds something like a monster from another universe in her bathtub (so my imagination says). A product of herself has come to warn her. Fate and transcendence seem to emanate here.

O.D. – This one seemed to have a bit of a dark fantasy, surreal effect to it. A double-universe that one character is connected to.

Laundromat – The two themes from the bathroom ad are reiterated here. The part that particularly drew me in about this ad was the interaction between the meth-head and the woman with her baby. It showed insight into his self-reflection with one line.

Car Accident – This one discusses the choices you make. I mean, they’re all about the choices you make, but this one singles out and defines that theme. The character’s consideration of her life’s paths are especially bleak:

This one is more dramatic than anything. Here, distancing himself from his parents, meth has turned the character into something that, behavior-wise, almost doesn’t even seem human anymore.

Go to the website, linked above in the first sentence, to check out the rest.


  1. Don't Feed The PixiesJune 12, 2008 at 5:44 AM

    These are interesting. We have similar adverts against Drink-driving in the UK. The supposed "camera-phone" ads of kids playing by the side of the road and one getting killed, plus the one of two people sat at a desk in a bar when the desk suddenly crashes into a young girl and throws her across the room are really graphic and disturbing.

    But i'm not sure if they have any actual effect on drink-driving. My general assumption is that if someone is going to do something stupid then no TV ad will stop them.

    I hope these have the desired effect and make at least some people think twice

  2. Thanks for providing links to these ... I did some work in social marketing. They all have this theme of trying to decrease the "attractiveness" of doing crystal meth. How do you combat peer pressure, acceptance, "coolness", escape, etc.? Unless by showing the consequences? (bad behavior, chapped lips, poverty, ugliness, etc.) It follows all the "theories" quite well, but I'd be interested to read studies on whether youth actually find themselves changing their attitudes because of the ads. In Canada, we have ads on all of our smokes so that people stop smoking - pictures of distorted hearts, horrible teeth, lip cancer etc. They actually did find some effectiveness with this one. And the ones that young men hate the most? A picture of a sagging cigarette - to remind them that smoking leads to impotence :)

  3. I was watching those videos without sound since I'm at work, but still, very intense.

    I wonder how many teenagers will actually give these ads the kind of attention they deserve? It's hard not to take notice of something so dramatic and dark, but if I remember my teenage years correctly it's all too easy to shrug it off and say, "it's just a TV commercial. That could never happen to me." There were awful commercials all over about the dangers of smoking, but I still did it, and didn't even think twice about it.

    I hope those ads have the desired effect, and I applaud Mr. Siebel and the people who put those ads together. They're very powerful, and I hope at least some people take notice.


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