Finally, after more failed campaigns, the makers of PSAs adjusted. Gone were the scare tactics and the ads that made kids wonder if drugs would really scramble their brains. With the “Above the Influence” campaign, the spots began to appeal to the idea that teens want to be seen as individuals, different from their parents and even their peers.
Ferro says these ads were meant to appeal to teens trying to rebel.
“So much of being a teenager is wanting to be independent, that that’s really the stance that anti-drug ads should take,” she says.
These ads did a little better. A study from Ohio State University found that fewer teenagers who saw the “Above the Influence” clips tried marijuana.