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Oscar-winning Angus Wall Shoots Poignant Ads to Prevent Child Drug Abuse

DDB North America, 2 years, 6 months ago

DDB California & The Partnership for Drug-Free Kids launch campaign offering parents 'real help'

Oscar-winning Angus Wall Shoots Poignant Ads to Prevent Child Drug Abuse

The Partnership for Drug-Free Kids, a national nonprofit working to reduce substance abuse among adolescents by supporting families and engaging with teens, is collaborating with DDB California on a new, integrated creative campaign that includes TV, print and radio public service announcements (PSAs). The ads are part of a campaign called “Real Help,” and are geared toward parents of teens and young adults who have been impacted by substance abuse or addiction. The TV spots were directed by two-time Oscar-Winner Angus Wall, who edited blockbuster films like “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo,” “The Social Network” and “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.”

The “Real Help” campaign is comprised of three 30 second TV spots (Awkward Silence, Just a Phase, Embrace), one 15 second TV spot (Awkward Silence), two print ads (Awkward Silence, Hug) and one radio spot (Awkward Silence). 

The unifying theme of the creative work is the search for answers and compassion by parents who are faced with their child’s substance abuse. Friends want to be supportive, but many don’t know what to say and just aren’t equipped to offer real help. The new PSAs stress that parents and families can find the help, resources and support they need from the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids. The spots close with: “Most people don’t know what to say about drugs. But we do. Visit us at”   

“We are thrilled to partner with DDB California on this impressive campaign, and we are incredibly pleased with the terrific creative they’ve delivered. What sets this work apart is that the agency was able to hone in on an authentic consumer insight – friends and family, even very well-meaning ones, just don’t know what to say or how to help when they learn their friend is coping with a child’s drug abuse,” said Rebecca Shaw, Director of Advertising and Production for the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids. 

“Renowned editor and director Angus Wall was masterful in capturing an intimate moment between two friends, allowing the viewer to really experience the angst and hopelessness parents feel when they are in need of help and are unable to find it.”

Through the new work the Partnership helps parents understand that even though dealing with a child’s drug use can be overwhelming, there is help available. The PSAs are the first to highlight the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids’ new name and logo, unveiled just a few months ago. The “Real Help” campaign was developed and produced pro-bono by DDB California, Rock Paper Scissors and A52.

“Parenting has always been a bit competitive. We all want perfect children, but their mistakes can feel like our own,” said Jonathan Byrne, Creative Director for DDB California. “Opening up about drug abuse, even to a good friend, is an alienating experience. Friends, normally quick with advice for more trivial matters, just don’t know how to help. The Partnership for Drug-Free Kids wants families struggling with drug abuse to know that is the place to turn for help. No more awkward silences, just answers.”

Creative Agency

Associate Creative Director: Tim Stier, Todd Taber

Business Director : Kevin Wakefield

Creative Agency: DDB California

Creative Director: Jonathan Byrne

Head of Production: Holly Jane Butler

Integrated Producer: Adrian Hernandez

Print Producer: (Freelance) Agnes Arceo

Project Manager: Nicki Krinsky


Edit Assistant: (Online, A52) Gabe Sanchez

Editor: Austyn Daines

Online Editor: (A52) Dan Ellis, Kevin Stokes 

Post Production / VFX

Colourist: Paul Ciaccono, (Assist) Chris Riley, Erik Rojas

Flame: (Lead) Matt Sousa  

Flame Artists: Mikey Plescia, Enid Dalkoff 

Post Production House: A52

Producer: Lusia Boryczko, (Colour) Anna Vegezzi 

Production Company

Director: Angus Wall

Executive Producer: Linda Carlson, Angela Dorian

Producer: Leah Carnahan

Production Company: Rock Paper Scissors

Category: Charity , Corporate and social

Genre: Dialogue , People , Storytelling