Drug Education News

News and views from the Drug Education Forum

Another Boomerang?

Readers may remember that we’ve touched on whether trying to elicit a “fear” response when designing drug campaigns is likely to work.

There’s another piece in the jigsaw; at least as far as the Montana Meth Project goes.

Writing in Prevention ScienceDavid Erceg-Hurn of the University of Western Australia says:

The main finding is that empirical support for the campaign is weak. Claims that the campaign is effective are not supported by data. The campaign has been associated with increases in the acceptability of using methamphetamine and decreases in the perceived danger of using drugs. These and other negative findings have been ignored and misrepresented by the MMP. There is no evidence that reductions in methamphetamine use in Montana are caused by the advertising campaign. On the basis of current evidence, continued public funding and rollout of Montana-style methamphetamine programs is inadvisable.

This was reported on in the Sydney Morning Herald where he goes on to say:

“They look at those ads and they don’t see themselves or their friends because the first few times they use ice they simply feel euphoria,” the lead researcher, David Erceg-Hurn, said yesterday.

“They are not becoming prostitutes or killing their parents, so they reject the message. These ads could be backfiring, and it’s time we looked at a new approach.”

Funnily enough I came across the above a few weeks ago (its one of the ads that seems to have been so ineffective) when I was looking for something else on YouTube and was reminded of the Boomerang ads paper that Drug and Alcohol Findings put together a few years ago.  That paper looked at evidence around some advertising that tried to convince a teenage audience about the gateway theory for cannabis and found:

Amazingly, on all the many measures of how the children reacted, the hard hitting gateway sequence left them feeling more positive about cannabis and more likely to use the drug.

Should you be interested the other adds from the Montana Meth Project can be seen here.


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One Response

  1. […] of this blog may remember that the outcomes of the advertising weren’t quite as the Economist remembers them if this […]

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