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A nationally-recognized and award-winning anti-meth campaign that statistically reduced meth-related crimes and deaths through a ground-breaking and sobering view of the effects of meth use.

The Challenge

The true story of meth use is a very depressing reality that leads to child abuse, neglect, domestic violence, heart failure, brain damage, stroke, missing teeth, and a life of pain for the users as well as their loved ones. The statistics alone are scary—10.4 million Americans age 12 and older use meth at least once in their lifetime. In the last 10 years, users age 12 to 17 admitted for treatment more than doubled. A federal grant provided one of the most meth-infested counties in the country the opportunity to increase enforcement hours and launch a multi-channel marketing campaign to assist in decreasing meth use and related criminal arrests. It was time for someone to create a community education and advertising campaign to save lives.

The Approach

There is nothing more powerful than providing an audience with the cause and eventual effect(s) of drug use. The agency developed a unique brand identity and position entitled "" and utilized it as the backbone for a multi-channel advertising and marketing campaign that focused on showing the results of meth use. Based on existing arrest records for white females ages 19-35, a persona was created to target white females ages 13-17 in order to educate and break the cycle of abuse. The persona, named “Julie,” was brought to life and showcased throughout the campaign in various stages of meth use. From rotten teeth to death, the campaign showcased Julie's downward spiral of addiction across a media landscape that included print, billboard, digital and website development.

Printed Intervention

A content-rich guide was created to educate the community and users on resources to help them stop using meth and clean up their lives. The guide was shared with the community and city organizations during the enforcement periods.

Interior spread of the Meth Sucks brochure that features shocking stats about methamphetamine abuse.
Medical instruments for the medical examiner to use on a corpse that once belonged to a crystal meth user.
Interior close-up of a graphic from the Meth Sucks brochure.
Process, concepts and sketches for the Meth Sucks campaign.
Still image from the Meth Sucks video campaign.
Death is just another side effect of using crystal meth. A billboard for the Meth Sucks campaign.

The Results

The brand community education and advertising campaign were deemed successful by the client based on multiple KPIs including the decline in meth-related crimes by 26.5%, arrests by 21.1%, and deaths by 5.7%. Over a five-year measurement period, the county saw a decline in meth use by 45%. Note: This dataset is based on an aggregate of meth crimes, arrests, and death statistics. Further statistics determined 750 lives were saved over a 36-month period following the campaign and 5,550 lives were positively affected by removing the negative impacts of meth on these potential demographic segments.


Meth-related crimes declined by 26.5%


Meth-related arrests declined by 21.1%


Meth-related deaths declined by 5.7%

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