Tuesday, September 19, 2006

This is your brain on YouTube

Amidst Congress's attempt to invade young people's lockers, bookbags, and pockets (the school search bill is today, so it's your last chance to send an email to your congresscritter, kids!), the Office of National Drug Policy is using more weasel-like methods in their attempt to invade young people's hearts and minds.

Yes, they've jumped on the viral video bandwagon and uploaded their ridiculous anti-drug ads to YouTube. They really are suckers for punishment...

From the Associated Press:
The decision to distribute public service announcements and other videos over YouTube represents the first concerted effort by the U.S. government to influence customers of the popular service, which shows more than 100 million videos per day.


"If just one teen sees this and decides illegal drug use is not the path for them, it will be a success," said Rafael Lemaitre, a spokesman for the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy.
I guess Rafael doesn't read the news. Those of us who have our eyes open know that these ads are an abject failure, and actually increase teen drug use.
"Welcome to the great experiment," said Lee Rainie, director of the Pew Internet & American Life Project. He predicted computer-savvy critics of U.S. drug policies will quickly edit the government's videos to produce parodies and distribute those on YouTube. "This seems pretty new and pretty adventurous."
Thanks for the challenge, Lee. I've already made some parody print ads and videos, but these YouTube videos will make lampooning this bloated government agency a whole lot easier. While you wait for my next parody, click here to help us take away the ONDCP's budget for these ineffective ads.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...


Few viewers for anti-drug PSAs on YouTube

Last Updated Thu, 21 Sep 2006 16:17:43 EDT
CBC Arts

A White House effort to grab the attention of young internet users has resulted in public service announcements appearing on video-sharing website YouTube.

Unfortunately, very few internet users are interested.

The Office of National Drug Control Policy has posted dozens of videos on YouTube warning against the dangers of drug use.

The posting has the virtue of being free and YouTube does boast a large youthful audience.

But the PSAs had just over 18,000 views by Thursday, relatively low on a medium that can draw millions of hits for videos that explain, for example, how to grow marijuana.

YouTube gets millions of hits daily, including many on videos of people doing strange things while high on drugs.

The PSAs include one of a teenager running from a snarling dog and bemoaning pressure from his friends to smoke marijuana.

To help grab viewers, the government links its videos with search terms such as "war on drugs," "peer-pressure," "marijuana," "weed," "ONDCP" and "420," a reference to marijuana.

But YouTube videos generally have to develop an audience through a peer-to-peer network and it appears that is not happening for the PSAs, which are the same ones used on U.S. TV.

The anti-drug agency is already being referred to on the internet for its "oppressive network drug content propaganda."

Corporations also are attempting to use video-sharing sites to create viral marketing campaigns for their products.

Barbara Shimaitis, the senior vice-president of interactive services at the U.S. Ad Council, says the technology could propel PSAs to become more entertaining.

Among the more persuasive anti-drug videos on YouTube and other video-sharing sites is a video of a real heroin user discussing his fight with addiction.

Over 183,000 people have watched a sadly hysterical 1980 interview with Richard Pryor in which he brags about cocaine he recently purchased. Pryor died of a heart attack at the age of 65.

"I don't think YouTube has changed the way we approach PSAs, but I think it's just added another dimension and another media niche for a no-cost solution," says Shimaitis.

John Walters, a drug policy advisor to U.S. President George W. Bush, said it is important to experiment with emerging technologies to try to reach audiences.

"Public institutions must adapt to meet the realities of these promising technologies," he said.