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Leithal Thinking Brand & Marketing Consultancy

Drug dealers don’t care

  • Scottish Government

In December 2004, The Scottish Executive appointed The Leith Agency to produce a campaign aimed at tackling the menace of drug dealers and the negative effect they had on local communities.  The campaign was to be funded entirely from the Proceeds of Crime Act and it was to be carried out in conjunction with a number of partner organisations – The Scottish Drug Enforcement Agency, The Justice Department, The Scottish Police Force and Crimestoppers.

The aim of the campaign was quite simple – to get the general public to inform on drug dealers by phoning the Crimestoppers hotline. To achieve this there were however considerable barriers that had to be overcome.

Drug dealers don’t care

Images showed how the lives of vulnerable people would be affected by the actions of dealers

One big idea. Many audiences.

Since drug dealers affect whole communities, the advertising had to appeal to a broad target audience (young people, parents, middle-age couples and the elderly).

The Leith Agency carried out a series of qualitative research groups and in-depth interviews to identify the issues and barriers of the various groups. What became clear was that the campaign had to operate on two levels:

- Provide the public with reassurance that they could pass information on via Crimestoppers
  in a completely anonymous and confidential way and that they wouldn’t be asked to give
  evidence in court or be contacted by the police

- Dramatise the negative effect that dealers had on the community by using the most
  vulnerable members of our society (toddlers, kids and the elderly) as potential victims.

It was also clear that the campaign shouldn’t set out to shock people – it had to provoke thought and challenge them to think about their own role in the community. The conclusion was one big, central thought designed to galvanise, motivate and empower the audience.

The creative idea: “Drug Dealers Don’t Care. Do You?”

Drug dealers don’t care

A multi-media approach

The campaign ran from 15th February to 27th March 2005 and exploited a combination of media channels:

- Radio (predominantly to address concerns re anonymity)
- Press (local and national)
- Posters (6 sheet and 48 sheet sized)
- Bus sides
- Ambient (bus tickets, washroom posters, beer mats)

Direct mail was also used – a first for Crimestoppers. By distributing mail packs with a pre-paid reply service inside in the most adversely effected communities, it was designed to provide a different channel of response for those who simply refused to believe that the Crimestoppers phone line was completely anonymous.

Drug dealers don’t care

428% increase in calls

Over the campaign period, the number of calls to Crimestoppers increased by a staggering 428%.  More importantly these calls led directly to more than 500 arrests and over £1.5 million worth of drugs and cash being seized.

Public confidence. Making a difference.

The excellent response to the direct mail campaign and continued influx of calls after the campaign finished, demonstrates the public’s increase in confidence and reinforces the advertising message: action can make a positive difference.  The campaign generated wide media coverage, prompting the Deputy Justice Minister to comment on the “unprecedented response” to the six-week advertising activity and its success has led to the campaign being repeated in October 2006, with early results showing another huge boost in call volumes.

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