Substance Abuse

  • Bottle Caps – TV Spot
  • WhatDoYouThrowAway.org Website
  • Desktop Wallpaper
  • Bottlecap Posters - 1
  • Bottlecap Posters - 2

The Work

The Challenge

The Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) wanted to raise awareness to combat underage drinking and reduce alcohol related substance abuse in the state of Iowa.

The Smart

Brand planning research found that it is important to reach the underage audience before their critical decision moment. This pre-teen and teen audience is not looking for a lecture and may rebel if told not to drink. Instead, marketing must be educational while “keeping it real.”

The Bold

We encouraged the underage audience to stop and think about their drinking decisions and the risks and harms. Communications empowered them to take control of their life and not to succumb to influential emotional drivers.

The Work

Advertising materials under a “What Do You Throw Away?” theme, including TV, outdoor, print and radio, were created to convey the risks and consequences for a teenager who chooses to drink, because underage drinking comes at a cost. In addition, a website was created to further the message and serve as a resource for the teens to communicate with each other on this sensitive and serious subject. Later, campaign materials were refreshed with a new “What Gets Crushed?” theme.

“Our underage drinking campaign was not only award-winning, but more importantly it was very well received with our local agencies and the target audience to help prevent the onset of underage drinking.”
– Julie Hibben, Project Manager for the IDPH Bureau of Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment

The Results

Creative validation research showed the marketing materials to be highly appealing, easy to grasp, effective and have great stopping power.

Marketing materials were made available to local prevention agencies, and orders were placed in 21 out of 23 counties, which was much more than expected.

Substance abuse statistics are gathered every two years. The latest evaluation of alcohol use by youth shows a decline in the state of Iowa.

  • Six percent decline in 8th and 10th graders for those who reported having alcohol in the last 30 days
  • Five percent decline in 8th graders and three percent decline in 10th graders for those who reported taking their first drink

The “What Do You Throw Away?” campaign received numerous local and regional awards for creativity and the integrated campaign was recognized with a National ADDY Award in the Public Service category by the American Advertising Federation.