Promoting Events – Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration

How PSAs Can Help Promote a Special Event

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) has a wide range of programs to administer and one of their major initiatives is National Alcohol and Drug Addiction Recovery Month. The special observance seeks to inspire all levels of government, business and society to work toward enhancing drug and alcohol treatment programs. It also provides a focal point to recognize everyday heroes who have sought help and are in recovery.

To publicize this special event, Goodwill Communications worked with SAMHSA’s public relations agency, Edelman, Inc., to distribute a multi-media PSA campaign with the theme, “Join the Voices for Recovery: Celebrating Health.” The theme underscores the role everyone plays in the recovery process, and emphasizes the united front that must be presented to encourage individuals with alcohol and drug problems to seek help and remain in recovery.

The PSAs aim to reduce the misrepresentation and stigma faced by those who are in treatment or recovery face every day for the rest of their lives. The PSAs put an everyday face on addiction and recovery, and offer the SAMHSA National Helpline (1-800-662-HELP) as a requested action to call if the viewer or someone they know is in need of treatment.

The 2004 PSAs were titled “Boat,” which demonstrates that all people who suffer from alcohol and drug use disorders are “in the same boat” and that treatment helps them to reach solid ground, and “Tony” which illustrates how getting help through treatment can enable a person to help others, thereby multiplying the effect of one person’s treatment. All PSAs were produced in English and Spanish.

TV PSAs were distributed to 1,200 English and Spanish broadcast TV stations, to 500 cable stations; and 3,500 radio stations nationwide. The PSAs also received play as part of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy’s (ONDCP) Media Match Campaign.

Open ended spots were also created for customization to allow local television stations and community groups to personalize the PSAs with their logo, slogan, or telephone number at the end of the PSA. These spots were available via SAMHSA’s National Clearinghouse for Alcohol and Drug Information (NCADI).

Evaluation

From June through December 2004, the broadcast and cable TV PSAs aired 38,728 times on 286 outlets reaching 250 cities in 47 states, and generated 78,671,626 viewer impressions.

For the same period, the radio spots were broadcast 61,655 times on 354 outlets reaching 213 cities in 47 states, resulting in 4,775,759 in listener impressions. The combined value of all PSAs was $4,837,996. More importantly the PSA campaign was largely responsible for 75,000 kits and 10,000 posters ordered by community-based organizations, government entities, and national treatment organizations.