White House Drug Policy Advertisements Score a Touchdown at Grabbing Attention

The Broad Public is Evenly Divided on Whether These Ads are an Appropriate Use of Taxpayer Money

Between February 4 and February 5, 2002, Ipsos-Reid U.S. Public affairs interviewed a representative sample of 1,000 adults nationwide by telephone. The margin of error is + 3.1%

Washington, DC (February 8, 2001) - Half of the viewers of this past weekend's Super Bowl (47%) recall seeing at least one of the new White House anti-drug advertisements that debuted during the broadcast. With 64% of Americans reporting they watched at least part of the game, pre-game or post-game broadcast, that suggests that three-in-ten Americans could recall seeing one of the White House advertisements that linked drug use to financial support for terrorists who profit from the drug trade. For related research on the Super Bowl see: "Super Bowl Delivers"

Seventy one percent (71%) of those who saw the advertisements believe that the ads (paid for by the White House Office of Drug Control Policy) were an innovative approach to discouraging illegal drug use. What is more, 57% of those who saw one or more of the advertisements and said it struck them as a new approach to discouraging illegal drug use then go on to say that they believe that this approach will work better than past campaigns.

The broader public is split (48% - 48%) on whether these ads were an appropriate use of government money, however. (Respondents were informed that the advertisements were paid for by "the government.")

While overall 48% were in favor of this use of money and 48% opposed, there were differences by party and demographics.

Those most in favor of this use of money were

  • Republicans (66%),
  • Married people (55%),
  • Parents (53%),
  • Men (52%), and
  • Whites (51%)

Those most opposed to this use of money were

  • Democrats (62%),
  • Non-whites (60%),
  • Non-married people (56%),
  • People on the Pacific Coast (54%),
  • People age 18-34 (53%),
  • Women (52%),
  • Non-Parents (51%), and especially
  • People who recall the advertisements and thought they were the same old approach (73% of whom said the advertisements were not an appropriate use of government funds).

"People are divided on whether these advertisements were a good use of funds or not. That may represent, in a strange way, a victory for the White House Drug Control Policy Office--at least this time, people found anti-drug efforts to be memorable enough to register an opinion about what the White House office does. Without question, Super Bowl viewers noticed the advertisements, and most reacted positively," reports Thomas Riehle, President of Ipsos-Reid U.S. Public Affairs, which conducted the poll in the days after the Super Bowl. "What should be especially encouraging is the fact that most of those who were skeptical about this use of government funds were those who thought the advertisements were not different enough or not edgy enough. Very few opponents felt this an inappropriate use of funds solely because they were offended by the message or because they thought it was too new or too radical a departure. That is a green light for the Drug Control Office to pursue new advertising approaches."

Super Bowl ads cost an average of $1.9 million for a 30 second spot.

To view the complete media release and tables, please download the PDF file.

To view the latest poll results and research from Ipsos Public Affairs please go to: http://www.ipsos-reid.com/us/media/content/pre_rel.cfm

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