Fred Muench Named President and CEO of Partnership for Drug-Free Kids
Fred Muench has been named President and CEO of Partnership for Drug-Free Kids.
New York- July 16, 2013 – the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids is taking the lead on Above the Influence (ATI), a popular and effectiveteen-targeted drug and alcohol prevention campaign. The nonprofit will be responsible for all national youth outreach, including advertising, social media and campaign websites. ATI was previously a project of the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP).
“No one is better suited than the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids to ensure the continued success of Above the Influence,” said Gil Kerlikowske, Director of ONDCP. “The Partnership has been there since the beginning of Above the Influence, and together, we have made a difference in the lives of teens.”
The campaign, now entering its eighth year, has been proven effective in reducing teen substance abuse. Its positive impact has been documented in several studies published in respected peer-reviewed journals including American Journal of Public Health and Prevention Science.
Since its launch in 2005 as a collaboration of ONDCP, the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids and DraftFCB – and despite diminished Congressional allocations for the prevention campaign – ATI was able to build and maintain a strong brand among teens. Today, more than 80 percent of teens are aware of the ATI brand and its active Facebook community boasts more than 1.8 million.
“We recognize that teens are a tough audience – they don’t like to be lectured or told what not to do and they don’t worry about their mortality,” said Allen Rosenshine, Vice Chairman and Executive Director of the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids. “The insightful strategic messages offered by the ATI campaign take a different approach toward teens, reinforcing the fact that they value themselves and their aspirations above the debilitating and self-destructive influence of drugs. Over time, this has proven far more effective than the more traditional, negative anti-drug messages that today’s teens largely ignore.”
He added, “Above the Influence has successfully appealed to teens’ sense of self-worth and desire for self-determination through a variety of engaging and creative executions across all media. It is really smart advertising that talks to teens on their own terms and has built an awareness which we and our volunteer agencies will continue to reinforce. We are proud that Above The Influence has had a measurably positive impact on teens’ attitudes toward drugs and alcohol use and will continue this important work under the leadership of the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids.”
ATI has also been associated with the country’s foremost advertising and creative agencies, all with a hand in its success. These agencies include DraftFCB; Team One; Wieden + Kennedy; Campbell Mithun; Prime Access; GSD+M; Lowe + Partners; McKinney, McGarry Bowen; Vigilante; DDB West; and Atmosphere Proximity.
In recent years, ATI has persevered in the face of continuously waning government budgets for addiction prevention initiatives. The Congressional budget allocation for the ATI campaign decreased from more than $100 million annually in 2005, leveraged dollar-for-dollar by matching donations from the private sector, to zero funding in 2012. Furthermore, in the current federal government budget for substance use and addiction, only 5.5 percent is allocated to prevention.
“the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids is thrilled to lead Above the Influence – a vibrant brand that is highly recognized and respected by teens – in this new capacity,” said Steve Pasierb, President and CEO of the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids. “We’re already seeing incredible opportunities to engage new partners and sponsors who share a similar passion for teens and their well-being. A generation of young people benefitted from the ATI campaign and made personal choices to live above the influence. Hard economic times and unfortunate Congressional budget decisions should not rob today’s youth of the same support to make healthy choices.”
Fittingly, digital and social media are now the primary drivers of the campaign, and new channels, including BuzzFeed, Facebook, Tumbler and Instagram are joining ATI. This new, digital engagement comes in the form of “Made by Me,” an online advertising campaign created pro bono by New York agency Atmosphere Proximity. “Made by Me” encourages teens to submit their ideas for the next great Above the Influence public service announcement. Teens will vote on a winning concept which will be filmed by a renowned director and premiered in October 2013 to coincide with Above the Influence Day.
In addition to leading Above The Influence, the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids also recently completed the acquisitions of The Meth Project from the Siebel Foundation and the national nonprofit organization Join Together from the Boston University School of Public Health. The nonprofit is also a 2012 Silver EFFIE Award Winner for “sustained success” over at least five consecutive years.
Click here to learn more about Above the Influence.
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About the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids
Ninety percent of addictions start in the teenage years. The Partnership at Drugfree.org is dedicated to solving the problem of teen substance abuse. Together with experts in science, parenting and communications, the nonprofit translates research on teen behavior, addiction and treatment into useful and effective resources for both individuals and communities. Working toward a vision where all young people will be able to live their lives free of drug and alcohol abuse, the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids works with parents and other influencers to help them prevent and get help for drug and alcohol abuse by teens and young adults. The organization depends on donations from individuals, corporations, foundations and the public sector and is thankful to SAG-AFTRA and the advertising and media industries for their ongoing generosity. If you or someone you know if struggling with drug or alcohol abuse, please call The Parents Toll-Free Helpline at 1-855-DRUGFREE.
About the “Above the Influence” Campaign
The “Above the Influence” campaign has been reaching teens for more than five years through television, print, radio, and online media. It is operated by the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids, a national nonprofit dedicated to solving the problem of teen substance abuse, and is supported by the National Youth Anti-Drug Media Campaign, a program of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy. ONDCP’s efforts in local communities focuses on connecting directly with teens and local youth-serving organizations to deliver messages, activities, and support to help the nation’s youth stay “above the influence” of drugs, alcohol, and risky behaviors. Multiple scientific findings indicate that teens who have increased exposure to, and engagement with the “Above the Influence” campaign, have stronger anti-drug beliefs than teens with low exposure to the campaign.