Luncheon recap: Changing behaviors through social marketing

By Lauren GonnDOR_logo_tag

Prescription drug abuse is one of the nation’s leading killers. Sadly, 70 percent of people get these drugs from friends or relatives, and 44 people die every day from a drug overdose in the United States. In many cases, painkillers and other prescription drug use, lead to the abusing of other drugs like heroin. According to the Wisconsin Department of Justice, Wisconsin is the second leading state in the U.S. with the most prescription drug abuse.

Annie Schwartz, director of communications and trainer at Wisconsin Department of Justice, and Laura Monagle, vice president of client services and public relations at Affirm Agency, presented at the February luncheon.

Annie and Laura gave us three takeaways from their presentation regarding prescription drug abuse:

  • To inform us what the Wisconsin Department of Justice does
  • To explain the definition of social marketing
  • How to use social marketing techniques the right way to raise awareness

The Wisconsin Department of Justice created the “Dose of Reality” campaign to enforce a change, provide treatment and create prevention measures. Annie and Laura explained they used shocking situations to get people’s full attention and achieve the campaign’s goals.

They created TV PSAs of true stories of prescription drug abuse in Wisconsin. You can view the spots on their YouTube channel here.

The target audience is all ages, but specifically teens and young adults who seem to have the highest rate of abuse. The point is to provide the target audience with information on who is at most risk and why, what the myths are with prescription drugs and who is more likely to take these drugs.

The “Dose of Reality” campaign is the beginning of a prevention effort through social marketing. As said during Laura and Annie’s presentation, this effort will take years to evolve and commitment from everyone involved (parents, medical community, business community, law enforcement, etc.).

The Wisconsin Department of Justice currently has two media partners: Fox6 in Milwaukee and WKOW in Madison helping promote this campaign. Close to 50 percent of all TV spots aired are donated for these PSAs created.

To learn more about the WI Dept. of Justice, please visit their website.