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What Is Talk To Frank?

The longest running anti-drug campaign in the UK is Talk to Frank. But has it actually worked and stopped drug use?

Ten years prior a police Swat group collided with a calm suburban kitchen and transformed the substance of medication education in the UK until the end of time. People were seriously warned to stay away from the drug peddlers around sports arenas and that they could be destroyed by drugs. Instead, wit and fun including games were embraced.


The first advert presented an adolescent inviting the police to come and arrest his mum because the mum wanted them to talk about drugs. The message, "Drugs are illegal. Talking about them isn't. So Talk to Frank", was brand new as well.


Frank Friendly Confidential Drug Advice

Thought up by promotion organization Mother, Frank was, indeed, the new name for the National Drugs Helpline. It was supposed to represent a trusted, big brother figure that young people could call for advice about drugs. The quests of Pablo, the dog that's used as a substance mule, to a tour around a brain warehouse have been put forward under the Frank name, making it a well-known trade name amongst the youth of the nation.


According to Justin Tindall, creative director of Leo Burnett ad agency, the most important thing is that no one could accuse frank of trying to be "down with the kids," or coming out with the wrong attire. Surprisingly, the funny imitations of the Frank videos found on YouTube are quite polite. There's also no indication that Frank is working for the government, which is unusual for a government funded campaign.

Right from the days of Nancy Reagan, a lot has been done about drugs education, and the Grange Hill cast which a lot of people opine that it did more harm than good, simply encouraged people to "Just Say No" to drugs.


Like the Frank campaign, most European ads now focus on giving unbiased information so that young people can make up their own minds. In places that have harsh penalties for being in possession, pictures/photos of prison cells and embarrassed parents remain common. A recent campaign launched in Singapore informed young people who visit clubs, "You play, you pay".

In the United States of America, the federal government has spent millions of dollars on a long-running campaign, Above the Influence, that sells positive possibilities to using substances by making use of a combination of funny and cautionary stories. In the ad, teenagers are communicated to in a manner they are familiar with, like some "stoners" being marooned on a couch. Around the world, a good number of anti-drug campaigns still use the scare tricks of old, "descent into hell," being one of the most used. The DrugsNot4Me series recently launched a commercial in Canada that shows a beautiful, self-assured young lady metamorphosis after using "drugs" into a shaking, hollow-eyed mess.

A study carried out in the UK on anti-drugs campaign that ran between 1999 and 2004 shows that adverts that portray the negative results of drug use influence vulnerable youth to try out with the drugs.


By demonstrating how the drugs affect the use, giving the highs and lows, Frank was not supported by the Conservative politicians on the new path it had taken.


An early online advertisement told people that cocaine made you feel on of the world.

Hitting the middle road with an ad to give the right message always proved to be a challenge. Matt Powell was the creative director of digital agency Profero, the company that came up with the cocaine ad; he now thinks he miscalculated the time an average user spends on browsing the internet. The negative effects were given at the end of the animated ad and some viewers might not have watched the whole thing. Establishing the integrity of the Frank brand by telling the youth the truth about drugs and their effects was the ultimate aim of the ad, Powell states.

According to the Home Office, 67% of younger people in a survey stated that they would ask Frank if they required advice on drugs. A total of 225,892 calls were made to the Frank helpline and a total of 3,341,777 visits to the site in 2011/12. For him, this shows that the campaign is very successful.

Though, like with any other anti-drug media campaign around the globe, there's no proof that Frank has stopped people to use substances.

Drug usage in the UK has gone around 9% in the decade since the conflict propelled, yet specialists say quite a bit of this is down to a decrease in cannabis utilization, potentially connected to changing states of mind towards smoking tobacco among youngsters.


What Is Frank?

FRANK is a national drug education program that was established at the Home Office of the British Government and the Department of Health in 2003. It's main aim is to inform young people about the dangers of alcohol and drugs, so as to bring down the rate of consumption of both legal and illegal drugs. A lot of media campaigns have been put out on both the radio and the internet.


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Services

FRANK gives the accompanying services to individuals who look for data and/or advice regarding drugs

  • A dedicated website
  • A confidential telephone number, available 24 hours a day
  • Email
  • A confidential live chat service, available from 2pm-6pm daily
  • Help in finding a rehab and treatment facility