The Angelus Foundation has taken an entirely new and radical approach to drug awareness by disguising a warning note as a high itself.
The campaign, dubbed The Trojan High, was created with Lime Advertising and was launched just after the recent blanket ban of psychoactive substances by the government.
“We have found that traditional ways of warning young people about the dangers of substances, particularly legal highs, were not having the best impact,” said Jeremy Sare from the Angelus Foundation, “people continue to be exposed to these unpredictable substances. We found Lime’s approach to be highly innovative by taking advantage of the reckless way these chemicals have been marketed.”
The messages were disguised in small packets called Ciao!, which were designed to mimic other highs such as black mamba and Gogaine. Whilst marketing on Facebook, online, and leafleting in targeted areas, the campaign promised to ‘open your mind and give clarity like never before’.
After a short period of steadily receiving orders, The Sun, followed by The Metro, believed the campaign to be real. Ciao! subsequently made it into the national press and orders tripled, with the messages being sent out across the country.
“People should realise that the dominance of social media as a communications tool for young people requires new thinking and new techniques,” said Sare, “it is no good putting bland information on a website and expecting it to change behaviour.
“There is a lot of misinformation about these new substances so it is vital we cut through traditional messaging and get drug safety information out as far as we can.”
After the campaign was revealed, many users took to Facebook to express support for the cause. Max Daly, a journalist specialising in substance abuse, also worked with the team for his article in Vice, which questioned the role of the press when reporting on drugs and illegal substances.
The Angelus Foundation plans to continue spreading their message, encouraging young adults to find out more about the dangers of legal highs and showing that when you open a pack, you never know what you might get.