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It's Cool to Re-Think Drugs!
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The Institution for Health Care, Ravne, commissioned a mass poster campaign with the premise “Alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs represent a global problem. The free and responsible choice between taking and not taking drugs can be made only by well informed and conscientious individuals.”
The campaign is designed mostly for elementary and high school children. Given the target group, we had to pay special attention to the communication approach since this is a very young and sensitive public. Most international campaigns that deal with drug use and abuse are, in our opinion, problematic since they assume the position of authoritarian authority and greatly intimidate the public, which is a priori anticipated as a helpless addict, in a patronizing way.. The majority of the posters are visually dark, negative, non-creative, and frightening. Such advertising projects the type of authority young people are extremely sceptical, and defiant of nowadays. Instead, we wish to address young people through rational arguments, democratic values, and their inclusion in the communication process. This is characteristic also of social communication, the communication approach we used for this campaign.

We believe that the only way to achieve positive effects in such a campaign is to offer more than one view but to build on the preferred view with rational and scientifically sound arguments. These must be presented to young people with positive (non-didactic) diction and in a way they find appealing, yet also inviting of their active participation in public discourse. The poster must be designed in the manner of visual journalism, which incorporates the multi-perspectival nature of contemporary social reality and, at the same time, opens a space for dialogue. In the opposite case, the campaign does not solve the problem. Rather, it becomes a part of it.

Another goal of the campaign “It's cool to re-think drugs“ was to change the discourse around drug issues, and to set new guidelines in this field in Slovenia. Apart from the poster, it also used a communication tool in the form of a web blog.

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