Communities across the U.S. face an epidemic: on average, 134 Americans die each day from an opioid overdose. The state of Ohio has been especially hard hit, with 4,293 opioid overdose deaths in 2017, over 1,000 more than the next closest state. Research indicates that nearly 66% of Americans believe opioids are a problem, but only about 19% believe that addiction or an overdose could happen in their family. To address this crisis, we were tasked to develop a public education campaign targeting parents that would help prevent prescription opioid abuse among the next generation, on behalf of the Ohio Opioid Education Alliance. Our ultimate goal is to shift this dangerous “not my kid” mindset.
We created the town of Denial, Ohio - a community just like any other. But Denial is a place where parents dangerously believe opioid abuse won’t affect “my kids or family.” These parents believe that for many good reasons, their kids would never try the opioids that are often easily accessible in their parent’s medicine cabinet and are immune to the dangers of the crisis. Denial, Ohio is a place that Ohio parents can identify with. Through locations and casting, we created a familiar look and feel. And based on our research, we demonstrated why Denial is a place they don’t want to live – because those families in the ad falsely believe the opioid crisis wouldn’t impact their town, family or kids.
The “Don’t Live in Denial, OH” campaign debuted Online, Outdoor, in Print and on Television in Ohio, as well as media outreach to national outlets about the initiative. Alongside that rollout, we launched DontLiveinDenial.org with educational resources for parents, as well as a social media campaign encouraging all to talk about the epidemic with their children and asking corporate partners to join the fight. A local TV partnership has resulted in monthly stories and a one-of-a-kind 30-minute primetime special, viewed in an estimated 80,000 central Ohio homes, with 16,000 Facebook Live views.