SG council against drug abuse lets youths make choices on drug issues

The National Council Against Drug Abuse (NCADA) of Singapore has launched its 2020 campaign to spark conversations and spread awareness of the destructive reality of drug abuse. The campaign consists of an interactive short film titled “HIGH” produced by local director Royston Tan, as well as online activities to engage with the youth.

HIGH follows the journey of main protagonist, and allows viewers to make choices on his behalf to uncover the various endings and possibilities within the story line. In light of the evolving global drug situation, this campaign aims to explore the challenges and choices relating to drug abuse that youth may encounter.

The campaign is co-funded by Tote Board, a statutory board of the Ministry of Finance, and Dentsu Singapore managed the creatives. Meanwhile, Vizeum Singapore managed media strategy, and iProspect Singapore powered search engine optimisation for the campaign. In developing and executing HIGH, Dentsu Singapore worked closely with several agency partners, including strategic communications advisory firm, Black Dot, which supported PR efforts for the campaign, and played a key role in the ideation of an online interactive platform called Safe Zone Discussions. 

The film is also hosted on its own microsite and features a variety of opportunities to converse and engage the youth. These educational and thought-provoking activities, carried out in an interactive online platform, aims to kickstart conversations with the youth on drug issues. After watching and experiencing the highs and lows of drug abuse through the film’s characters, youth can uncover for themselves the highs and lows of different drugs through the microsite’s chat-format FAQ session. 

high

To spark conversation amongst youth on the truths behind drug abuse, the microsite also enables viewers to share their film ending on social media platforms and encourage others to do the same. Other activities on the site include taking part in a character quiz, and sharing their results with friends online. 

To engage with the youth and drive awareness about the campaign, HIGH was screened at ITE College Central, ITE College East, and Singapore Polytechnic earlier in January, reaching a total of 5,162 students, Dentsu Aegis Network said in a statement. Each film screening was followed by a Safe Zone Discussion, an interactive and thought-provoking platform for students to share their thoughts on the film, on drug abuse and drug advocacy. 

To sustain awareness and drive engagement, the campaign will continue with an Instagram quiz contest about HIGH to further educate audiences and encourage conversations around drug use. These will be supplemented by additional digital banners and media amplifications.

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NCADA chairman, Hawazi Daipi, said youth today are constantly faced with pro-drug narratives which are shaping their attitudes, to be more liberal, towards drugs. According to Hawazi, these young individuals are also exposed to all kinds of misinformation on effects and benefits of certain drugs.

“In this climate, we felt the need to engage with the youth in a deeper and more meaningful manner, to first understand how they form their opinions and attitudes towards drugs, and secondly to have open conversations with them on the realities and harms of drug abuse. With this campaign, we hope to engender greater cognisance of the larger context of pro-drug narratives, and the importance of building empathy and anti-drug advocacy amongst our youth,” he added.  

Meanwhile, Prakash Kamdar, CEO of Dentsu Aegis Network Singapore, said as social mindsets towards drug use evolve in Singapore, adaptability and creativity becomes key in shaping the narrative to combat abuse.

“We are delighted to be able to pull together our cross brand capabilities to support NCADA for the second year running in engaging the community while addressing shifting attitudes among the youth of Singapore. We believe that the thought-provoking content delivered through the carefully curated platforms will serve to inspire our youths and shift behaviours positively,” he added.