Tribal Worldwide has a new campaign discouraging teen cough syrup abuse on behalf of the Consumer Healthcare Products Association and the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids.
Rather than take a typical scare-tactic approach, Tribal Worldwide instead decided to make a fun game. The game, entitled “DXM Labworks” lets players get a robot all messed up on DXM (the psychoactive ingredient, dextromethorphan, in some cough syrups) and see what the effects are like (spoiler alert: the robot pukes a lot). Billing the app as “your chance to see the effects of abusing DXM without trying it yourself,” the idea is that teens will try out the game and see an unglamorous portrayal of the effects of the drug.
“It’s not a sexy drug –- there’s loss of motor control, slurred speech and, of course, the uncontrollable puking,” Kinney Edwards, executive creative director at Tribal, explained to Mashable. “Social disapproval really matters to teens, and they can see first-hand how embarrassing and not cool this is.”
The campaign is mostly aimed at “on the fence” teens, those who are considering experimenting with the drug and perhaps researching its effects online. By presenting them with a game that simulates the effects of the drug, Tribal hopes the teens will make the judgement that DXM’s negative effects are not something they want to experience. The agency decided that teens easily dismiss PSAs but that they might be more receptive to a fun, mobile game. And what’s not fun about a robot puking?