Creative Campaign, Design & Visual Identity, Content Production, Social Strategy, Project Management
The opioid crisis began in the 1990s with the over-prescription of pain-relieving drugs. But in the past few years, it has become an epidemic with more potent (and less expensive) opioids like fentanyl being cut into recreational drugs like heroin and cocaine. Last year, fentanyl killed over 40,000 people in Canada and the U.S., at least 5,000 of those deaths attributed to fentanyl-laced cocaine. Fentanyl is impossible to see, smell, or taste, and the smallest grain of it can end in fatality.
In an exploration into this headline-grabbing crisis, our team discovered a Canadian made test-strip that can detect the presence of fentanyl and potentially save a life. Realizing it's a complicated path to stop drug addiction, we instead decided to make people aware of the dangers of fentanyl while providing a solution should they choose to still use drugs. We partnered with DanceSafe, a U.S.-based not-for-profit organization focused on drug awareness and harm-reduction who distributes those strips to the public so people can safely test their recreational drugs. To get the message out, we mimicked the popular cola taste challenge of yesteryear, but raised the stakes by shocking participants with identical baggies of "cocaine": one regular and one laced with enough fentanyl to kill. We recorded live footage and produced a video to capture the candid reactions, while sharing key facts about fentanyl-related deaths in North America.
The video was shared on DanceSafe's social channels and across their network of over 50 chapters across North America. In addition, a series of stickers with tongue-in-cheek phrases like "know before you blow" and "fen no fun" were distributed at events attended by DanceSafe and posted guerrilla-style throughout urban centres. The "Coke Challenge" saw DanceSafe experience a 50% increase in test-strips sales through their website and ignited a greater conversation around drug awareness in North America.