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charlestown prescription drug awareness campaign


Prescription drug abuse is a growing problem amongst teens in the U.S. and has become an epidemic in Charlestown, Massachusetts. Opiate experimentation becomes a slippery slope to heroin addiction and it can happen quickly. Massachusetts General Hospital wanted to create a campaign to reach local teens in an powerful and motivating way. However, teens make a uniquely challenging target audience since they’re cynical about being messaged to, and savvy enough to read between the lines. This campaign needed to go beyond past anti-drug messages like “Just say no” and create an authentic message that had viral potential both online and offline.


To ensure our campaign with authentic and powerful, Visual Dialogue met with a group of Charlestown students to get a first-hand account of the prevalence of pills, the pressures they face, and what they could do to make a difference to end the cycle of addiction that had directly affected their lives. Using this information, Visual Dialogue developed a multi-faceted approach that uses traditional advertising, social media, and guerrilla marketing. Eye-catching visuals of oversize real pills “stamped” with the student’s own words about the problem provide present the issue in real terms. The students took to the streets with posters and spread the word on Facebook and Twitter pages, where they can share their experiences, access community resources, and inspire friends to “Turn It Around.”