The Partnership for a Drug-Free America is a non-profit coalition of
professionals from the communications industry whose mission is to reduce
the demand for illegal drugs through media communication. The Partnership
was formed in 1986 with seed money from the American Association of Advertising
Agencies. At that time cocaine use was widespread.
We're made up of a small paid staff (right now we have 30 employees)
and hundreds of volunteers -- people from the media, advertising agencies,
production houses, talent guilds, and research and public relations firms
-- who donate everything from the advertising itself to hundreds of millions
of dollars in broadcast time and print space to carry our anti-drug public
Our main goal is to reduce drug use by educating the public -- primarily
through our ad campaign -- that trying and using illegal drugs is a bad
idea; that the risks outweigh way any benefits.
What is the State/City Alliance Program?
The Partnership's State/City Alliance Program has helped states and
large cities around the country replicate our national advertising organization
on the state and local levels. State drug prevention specialists and/or
members of the private sector work together to develop a local coalition
of volunteers to run the campaign. The Partnership for a Drug-Free America
provides the creative work and ongoing counsel, while the state "partnership,"
usually led by one or a small team of project leaders, solicits the local
media to run the Partnership's advertising messages for free. As part of
the state campaign, all Partnership ads appear with the local organization's
As of May 1996, more than 40 states and cities have launched their their
own media partnerships and another six are in various stages of development.
What are the Partnership's Reasons for Success?
The Partnership's ability to generate unprecedented levels of pro bono
media support is attributable to four key factors:
Scope and Capability
- The Cause
The illegal drug problem is deeply embedded in all the intractable social
problems we face. This concern is particularly acute at the community level.
The Partnership campaign is single-mindedly focused on this issue.
The public service advertising messages the Partnership develops reflect
the volunteer efforts of hundreds of advertising agencies across the United
States. In developing the work, the best creative minds in the country
have access to the most complete body of research on illegal drugs available.
The result is a campaign of compelling messages with an unparalleled track
record of consistent excellence. The media recognizes it to be effective
advertising of the highest quality.
The fact that the Partnership is research-based, including the strategies
for all our advertising messages and the fact that we use market research
to measure our effectiveness in the marketplace, is of enormous importance
to the media. This accountability is a key factor in the process of allocating
precious public service time and space.
- Sales Effort
The Partnership aggressively asks the media to run our ads on television
and radio stations, in newspapers and magazines for free. Staff members
travel the country constantly presenting the greatly in this effort are
the Partnership's Key Market Coordinators--a corps of dedicated volunteers
in the top 40 and other markets across the country. In addition, the Partnership
has extended its reach to local media through its State/City Alliance Program.
It has been found that nothing is quite as effective in generating support
as a personal visit to the media.
The Partnership has access to the entire advertising industry. This
means it has a nearly limitless supply of the best creative ideas in the
country. At any given point in time, approximately 50-60 agencies are at
work on Partnership messages.
The Partnership has in inventory hundreds of anti-drug public service
messages. This material is frequently adapted for use in other, more specialized
media. Messages are directed to a number of targets. Executions are aimed
at general audiences (including children, teenagers, and their parents),
the Mexican-American and Latino communities, and the workplace. All of
this material is available not only to the media, but to any legitimate
anti-drug organization or local coalition that will make productive, non-profit,
use of it.