The United States Olympic Committee (USOC) and the Ad Council announced a multi-year public awareness campaign focused on teen steroid use. The campaign is funded by U.S. Olympic Team sponsor Johnson & Johnson (one of my favorite companies to work with 😉 ). This is the first time that USOC and the Ad Council have joined forces to raise awareness about the national issue of illegal performance-enhancing drugs both within and outside of sport. We hear about athletes using drugs so often in the media that children and teenagers don’t think much about it. So it’s important to raise awareness.
"We know athletes and individuals who choose to engage in the destructive behavior of illegal steroid use live in fear of being found out,” said USOC Chief Executive Officer Jim Scherr. “This initiative is geared to show teens and other age groups that illegal steroid use can only lead to a harmful and embarrassing end. Additionally, teens need to fully understand the dangerous health risks associated with steroids and other performance-enhancing substances."
The campaign conveys the urgency of the abuse in an effort to shift teens’ perception and image around steroid use. All of the PSAs direct the audience to visit www.DontBeAnAsterisk.com to learn more about steroids, hear from professional athletes and find healthy alternatives to excel in athletics.
"We are proud to partner with the United States Olympic Committee, Johnson & Johnson and creative agency TBWA on this critical issue to help teenagers realize that steroids are socially unacceptable," said Peggy Conlon, President & CEO, the Ad Council. "The ads are engaging and memorable, while motivating, and I believe they will have a great impact on teens and parents in our country."
The funding from Johnson & Johnson will last at least three years. Johnson & Johnson has long been engaged in health awareness and education initiatives worldwide, and its support of the USOC and Ad Council’s anti-steroid message is a critical piece in the campaign’s ultimate success.
"Johnson & Johnson recognizes how important it is to educate teens about the appropriate use of all medications and the dangers associated with their misuse," said Brian Perkins, Corporate Vice President, Corporate Affairs. "The elements of this campaign should resonate as authentic with teens, and they are consistent with our philosophy of caring about people’s health and well-being in ways that are meaningful and impactful."
The campaign was created pro bono under the direction of TBWA\Chiat\Day, New York, a leading global advertising agency. Research conducted to help inform the campaign led TBWA\Chiat\Day to focus on the word and symbol of the "Asterisk – *" as the foundation for the campaign.
“Being caught with steroids comes with absolute penalties. You’re off the team. Your scholarship is gone. Your hopes of going pro are possibly out the window,” Gary Scheiner, Executive Creative Director, TBWA\Chiat\Day. “Our creative solution was to make teens understand that of all the outcomes of steroid use, fakeness is also considerably damaging. To illustrate this, we took a well-known icon already used in the world of sport, and turned it into our scarlet letter. The Asterisk.”
A link to the official Web site for the campaign – www.DontBeAnAsterisk.com – can be found on both the USOC and Ad Council Web sites – www.teamusa.org and www.adcouncil.org. You can also learn more on the facebook page for Don’t Be an Asterisk.
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About the USOC
The United States Olympic Committee (USOC) is recognized by the International Olympic Committee as the sole entity in the United States whose mission involves training, entering and underwriting the full expenses for the U.S. teams in the Olympic, Paralympic, Pan American and Parapan American Games. In addition to being the steward of the U.S. Olympic Movement, the USOC is the moving force for support of sports in the United States that are on the program of the Olympic, Paralympic, Pan American and Parapan American Games. Learn more about the U.S. Olympic Team and USOC at www.teamusa.org.
About the Ad Council
The Ad Council (www.adcouncil.org) is a private, non-profit organization that marshals talent from the advertising and communications industries, the facilities of the media, and the resources of the business and non-profit communities to produce, distribute and promote public service campaigns on behalf of non-profit organizations and government agencies in issue areas such as improving the quality of life for children, preventive health, education, community well-being, environmental preservation and strengthening families.
About Johnson & Johnson
Caring for the world … one person at a time, inspires and unites the people of Johnson & Johnson (www.jnj.com). We embrace research and science — bringing innovative ideas, products and services to advance the health and well-being of people. Our 120,200 employees at more than 250 Johnson & Johnson companies work with partners in health care to touch the lives of over a billion people every day, throughout the world.
TBWA\Chiat\Day is part of TBWA Worldwide. TBWA Worldwide (www.tbwa.com) creates Disruptive ideas for global clients, including ABSOLUT, adidas, Apple, Beiersdorf, Henkel, Infiniti, Mars, McDonald’s, Michelin, Nissan, Pernod Ricard, Pioneer, Samsonite, Standard Chartered Bank, Singapore Airlines and Sony PlayStation. TBWA is one of the fastest-growing networks in the Top-Ten, and was named by ADWEEK as Global Agency Network of the Year and the most-awarded Agency Network by Creativity magazine in 2007. TBWA has 258 offices in 75 countries, and approximately 11,000 employees worldwide.