THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary (Atlanta, Georgia) ________________________________________________________________________ For Immediate Release July 9, 1998
PRESS BRIEFING BY GENERAL BARRY MCCAFFREY; JAMES BURKE, CHAIRMAN OF PARTNERSHIP FOR DRUG FREE AMERICA; AND RUTH WOODEN, PRESIDENT OF ADVERTISING COUNCIL
Georgia World Congress Center Atlanta, Georgia
9:30 A.M. EDT
GENERAL MCCAFFREY: Good morning. Let me talk very briefly and then we'll respond to your own questions. Again, to reiterate, Jim Burke, Partnership for Drug-Free America, and Debbie Steelman, and others from the 30-some professionals who have gone to 200 or more advertising companies over the last decade, have shouldered the burden of talking to young people about drug abuse. So Jim will join me this morning and be a very key part of the effort.
And the effort is described in the National Drug Strategy, which is what President Clinton has used to outline to the 14 of us in the Cabinet who are involved in the drug effort how we're going to go about this. And also, Ruth Wooden, the Advertising Council will play an enormously important role, has from the start. If you watch the federal law, this was a billion dollars of federal appropriated money over the next five years, a couple hundred million a year. But there's another billion dollars of free access for drug issue and drug related issues. So Ruth and her associates will try and craft that effort, which will play an enormously important role. I mean, it doesn't have to be directly anti-pot, anti-meth, it may well be youth mentoring, parent-oriented approaches. So I appreciate both their leadership and both for being here today and joining me.
The final thing you might want to be aware of is this booklet. It was written by Porter Noveli, done a brilliant job helping us pull together how we're actually going to go about crafting this effort, how we're going to evaluate it, what the nature of the communication strategy is. You know it's 9 through 18-year-olds. The central target are middle-age school kids, but on the other hand, we're also talking to the preteen group, and we're aimed at the high school kids. And, oh, by the way, only 50 percent of this energy actually goes after young people; another 40 percent goes into adult care-givers -- parents, grandparents, et cetera. And then another 10 percent are really targeted on mentors -- whether it's high school track coach, or the leadership in Boys and Girls Clubs, or the YMCA, or whatever. So a pretty sophisticated effort, and we're enormously grateful to Porter Noveli for helping us put that together.
A final note -- Alan Levitt, if you will stand up, sir -- Alan is the, along with a small team in National Drug Control Policy, if you're looking for a source later on, Alan Levitt is the guy to call. And he and Joe Bartholomew and John Hale and others up in PDFA work a weekly phone conference, and that's how we're crafting this effort as we move ahead.
We're in phase two. Phase three says we develop a strategy that's not just national in nature, but reflects the 75 or more media markets that we're going to be in. So this message has to sound like me -- if I'm Native American, African American, in the Northeast, Latino, Spanish language, Hawaii, Boise, Idaho, and methamphetamines -- somehow we have to get this message where it resonates with the target population.
And at the end of the day -- and really, this comes lock, stock, and barrel out of a Partnership for a Drug-Free America -- what we're trying to do is change youth attitudes. And we know from watching Columbia University data, Joe Califano and his team, that if you change attitudes, behavior will follow. And that's really the point of the whole strategy. We know we have to drug treatment, we have to work on our air, land, and sea frontiers, we've got to work with the international community, with law enforcement -- we're going to do all of that, but what you're seeing today, outlined by President Clinton -- we're going to have Attorney General Janet Reno with us this morning and Secretary Shalala -- the two of them will be on -- the second hour we're going to do an interactive conference with 184 sites around the country where there are associated groups now of the political leadership, of the people that own local TV stations, newspapers, et cetera. So Janet Reno and Donna Shalala are here, along with Dr. Alan Leshner, National Institute of Drug Abuse; they're going to try and get involved in a creative effort.
Final thought -- Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America (CADCA), a bunch of their leadership are here. Nelson Cooney is their President, extremely able fellow; Marney Vleet (sp), their Chairman of the Board. And, really, I think all of us recognize that this country works from the bottom up, so we're focused on community coalitions.
Final note, we're thrilled that Speaker Newt Gingrich. That's where the money comes from. I don't need to remind any of you that this is a bipartisan effort and when we get up on stage this morning, the President and I will both acknowledge our gratitude that there was a nonpartisan approach to funding this program. It's about one percent of the total federal anti-drug budget. So we're grateful for his leadership, and Denny Hastert and Rob Portman, and, of course, Democrats like Charlie Rangel and Steny Hoyer and Tom Barrett, and others. A bipartisan effort and we're grateful for the way they've handled this.
On that note, let me ask both Jim and Ruth to say a few words and then we'll open ourselves to your own comments.
MR. BURKE: First of all, I am very excited to be here. I have spent a lot of my life on the demand side of the drug issue and enjoyed every minute of it. And one of the things I think those of us who are in this field see more clearly than does the public is that there's no place on the face of the Earth that more progress has been made than has already been made in this country. It's one of the best kept secrets, but the fact is regular drug use is down 50 percent, from 1985 to 1992. Cocaine use is down over 70 percent during the same period.
Now, that's the good news. The bad news is that underneath that we have a whole new group of customers who are our youth, and frankly, we missed how early they were starting. The average age is now about 13. And that group is not going down, that's going up. And we have not reached them as a society either through advertising, through communities, through schools, through all the mechanisms that this country works so well with, as effectively as we should.
And what's happened, thanks to the leadership of Barry McCaffrey and the Congress being so generous in terms of approving this plan, we now have a way to not only reach those children, but to reach their parents and their influencers with the kind of frequency that we who have spent our lives in marketing know will work.
We made a decision when we first started that we were going to monitor what we did, first for awareness; next for changing attitudes; and finally, for changing behavior. If we don't survive those monitorings, we ought to quit the program. We'll not only survive them, it is my conviction -- and I mean it -- that we'll way exceed our goals. I am absolutely convinced that this is one of the most important, if not the most important, public-private partnership ever tried in the United States. And it is going to work.
MS. WOODEN: Thank you. I can only imagine how General McCaffrey feels today, and his team led by Alan. Planning this national media campaign is like planning a military effort, and you really can't imagine how much work has gone into this.
At the Advertising Council, we represent, I think, a big part of the private part of this public-private partnership. And, as Jim said, this is probably going to be one of the best examples of what that really is than any of us have every seen. We at the Advertising Council are going to be helping the General and ONDCP develop this matched component. And what is this match? The match is really a commitment -- it's actually a contractual commitment -- from the media organizations that will be selling media time. And they will make a commitment to give comparable support, comparable investment, to this program.
Now, what the are the benefits of that match? The first thing is that, obviously, it leverages the investment. It will literally double the investment. The second thing, which is so important, is that the guidelines for the match, as the General said, recognize that everybody in this community has a role to play. It's not just kids and their parents and their teachers. All of us have got to create the kind of attitudinal environment that our kids need to keep off of drugs.
Third, it's going to unleash an incredible creativity in our media and advertising and marketing communities. They are going to be able to design what works best for them in this match. And they're going to be able to do it with what they know how to do in their communities. I mean, it's going to be as local as that community needs.
And, fourth, it's going to preserve a tradition of donations from the media that goes back in this country 50 years. I mean, this is unique to this country. Public service advertising to change public attitudes was started, was invented by my organization, the Ad Council, more than 50 years ago, and it has a history of working. I know there's a lot of skeptics out there about advertising and how it works, but when advertising is properly designed and has consistency, and if you stay the course, it will work. And we've seen it work in our organization on everything from the United Negro College Fund to drinking and driving. It does work, but you have to stay the course.
And what I see now is that this model of public-private partnership in media is really the third age, if you will, of public service advertising. You may not know this, but when public service advertising first started, it was paid for entirely by advertisers during the second world war. And then in the late '50s, it was donated entirely by media companies. And as the market and environment changes -- in media, this combination of public and private dollars is the best model yet, because what it gives us is both stability over the long haul from the ongoing media activities -- the messages that you're sending out, General -- and the vitality of what's going to be contributed by the media.
And we're proud to be part of what I think is going to be a watershed in how the federal government and private groups work together. It's a very exciting day for us. Thank you.
GENERAL MCCAFFREY: Okay, we'll be glad to respond to your questions.
Q General McCaffrey, how much of this exciting contribution by the media has now been identified? How much is actually solid?
GENERAL MCCAFFREY: Well, our 12 test cities -- we started in January -- we've exceeded 100 percent match. It is phenomenal. And, actually, some of the money we're paying for paid access time, the local news media have turned around and recycled into other community anti-drug activities. So, so far from the test phase, we are exceeding our mandate. And we're enormously grateful for it.
I ought to underscore ABC, for example -- Alan Levitt, made a point of talking about their contribution, but we've got America OnLine involved, Fox TV has been very heavily involved, the Learning Channel -- there's just a lot of people have come up on the Net.
MS. WOODEN: I'd like to underscore that we're able to monitor this match. I mean, you're able to monitor what these donations are. And the stations and the media companies are entering into agreements with ONDCP as part of this buy to make these contributions under a set of guidelines that will be monitored by us.
Q -- $195 million?
MS. WOODEN: In the test cities, it exceeds it at that rate. What we're launching today is the national component of that test.
GENERAL MCCAFFREY: The test phase is about $20 million.
Q -- exceeded 100 percent in each of the 12?
GENERAL MCCAFFREY: Yes, we had -- where we ran into difficulty, we have to take another negotiating stance. But what we've seen across the board is enormous creative response out of the media, and also private corporations. We've got all sorts of folks coming up on the Net now, computer firms, you name it, who are keen to be involved. We've also got sports, a very strong athletic component -- National Soccer Association is involved with us, National Baseball Association. So I think it's moving in the right direction.
Q I just want to be clear on this. You have $20 million and the test markets matched --
GENERAL MCCAFFREY: The 12 city phase was about $20 million.
Q -- the $195 million --
GENERAL MCCAFFREY: Well, now we start the national phase, and $195 million is a little bit -- if you look at it closely, according to our appropriations guidelines, it's actually $178 million this year, and some of that's evaluation component, and some of it is going into other public-private partnerships. So the media match, though, on the money we spend, we will achieve 100 percent match. And Ruth's organization is going to be a very important part of doing that.
I've also got a board that Alan Levitt and the National Institute of Drug Abuse, and others chair, to try and rule on what kinds of messages are appropriate for this match.
Q It wouldn't be accurate to say that you have a match for that money yet?
GENERAL MCCAFFREY: We do. Yes, it would be accurate to say that. As we go out and we -- for example, today's roadblock on the four major TV stations, 75-plus newspapers, almost every radio network in America -- yes, we're achieving a match. Bates and Zenith are doing that for us, I might add, in phase two. And I'd welcome you to intervene with them directly and ask them how they're going about it. Very professional group.
Q General, can you explain why you're so confident that this will actually work to reduce teen drug use? The study you released of the pilot program or the preliminary study says it could be three years before it's known if teen drug use actually declined. Couldn't that mean that $600 million in taxpayer money was spent before you even know if the program is working?
GENERAL MCCAFFREY: We've got a lot of history, we've got a lot of data -- Partnership for Drug-Free America, who have been at this for 10 years, and Jim can speak to it in more depth. Actually, beyond that, I normally cite a fellow that's worth reading, Professor Dave Mostow (sp), up at Yale University, who is probably the prominent historian in America about drug abuse in our society.
There's an enormous amount of data that says when you talk to children, when you get organized, when you use these tools it does affect youth attitudes and it does drive down their behavior in drug abuse. And then where are 12 test cities -- we're seeing feedback already. One of the statistics we thought was encouraging, again, is back to community coalitions -- in the 12 test cities, we had about a 500-percent increase in contacts to local coalitions when these ads came up on the Net.
MR. BURKE: The answer to your question is that there are mountains -- and we'd like to see it published -- of correlative data in terms of changing attitudes and, in turn, behavior on drugs. And when those changes occurred from 1985 to 1992, up until very recently, that included children. The problem that has occurred is we've got younger children than ever before, and at the same time, we faced a very steep decline in pro bono advertising as the media began to reorient itself into a far more competitive system.
You used to have three networks had 85 percent of the eyeballs. They've got less than 40 now. So as the media became more competitive, we found pro bono advertising decline. And I went to all of the networks and was assured it was going to continue to decline. And furthermore, it really declined in terms of reaching kids, and their parents, which is our prime audience now. If you look at the data, the adult data is down and holding. It's underneath that data where we find kids and trial starting at 13 with a marijuana that's two to 20 times stronger than their parents used, and we haven't reached those kids with enough frequency, or their parents with enough frequency, to do the job that we already have done in this country before.
There's plenty of data to support the fact that this will work. I have been in marketing most of my life and I have never seen a product that I've worked with with as much solid data in terms of the effect of advertising as we have on illegal drugs.
GENERAL MCCAFFREY: Okay, good. Thanks.
END 9:45 A.M. EDT