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The Fly Effect, Marketing Campaign Review

Wed, October 09, 2013

by DeAnna DeCaluwe, Account Executive, Creative Communication & Design

Toward the end of September while glancing through my Facebook feed, I stumbled upon a neighbor’s “share” of a new TV spot called The Fly Effect. For those unfamiliar, there is a nursery rhyme which starts “there was an old lady who swallowed a fly.” In the rhyme, after the woman swallows the fly, she swallows a spider to catch the fly, and a host of other animals, each to catch the last, until she swallows a horse (and dies, of course).

The Fly Effect campaign, which was inspired by the nursery rhyme, brings to life the downward spiral and destructive power of heroin. The premise of the Fly Effect is that “sometimes the biggest spirals have the smallest start”. Research has shown that 75% of those who try it actually re-use the drug.

The multi-media Fly Effect campaign is the mastermind of the Wisconsin Department of Justice, who created the campaign in effort to bring public awareness to the dramatic increases in heroin usage in teens in recent years.

The TV spot instantly grabbed my attention. It is emotionally-charged and brilliantly produced – complete with an original song written and performed by Joan Herzing. The musical notes and lyrics, when coupled with the visual representations of a life destroyed, can send chills down any spine.

The call-to-action provided on the TV spot leads to an interactive microsite which tours visitors

through cause and effect scenarios, similar to a choose your own adventure book. The scenarios provided are not sugar coated (do you steal from your job or hock your mom’s jewelry?), and help to reinforce that we each choose our own path.

The Fly Effect campaign is the next generation of “This is Your Brain on Drugs” campaign that launched in 1987 by the Partnership for a Drug Free America. However, the brilliance – and differentiator – of the Fly Effect campaign is that instead of talking at the teenage demographic, it talks to them - and incorporates new media to help deliver the message. It is direct and innovative, and by its creation has provided a platform for dialog between peer groups and parents alike.

I believe this campaign has been brilliantly executed. Kudos to the Wisconsin DOJ for creating the Fly Effect campaign and placing a much-needed spotlight on a growing epidemic.

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