Cancer Council WA asks people to ‘party smarter’ this festival season

Drug Aware is hoping to educate young Western Australians about the potential harms of MDMA use, in a targeted, animated campaign.

It is estimated that two-thirds of summer festival attendees use MDMA. Instead of telling festival-goers to say ‘no’ to the use of MDMA and other popular party drug, the campaign takes a different tack by encouraging people to ‘party smarter’.

The campaign launch coincides with ‘Leavers Week’, and is targeting young people through online video, social media and audio. Tactical out-of-home will also support the campaign at festivals and event venues.

Hannah Samsa, manager of public education and health promotion at Mental Health Commission, said: “We know that the potential harms of drug use – including MDMA -are a result of an interaction between the person, drug and environment.

“Unfortunately the festival and nightclub environment increases the risk of harm as a result of using MDMA. We want people to have the knowledge of what the risks are, but also evidence-informed strategies about what they can do to reduce those risks. We also work with event organisers to make sure those environments are also conducive to reducing harm.”

The campaign comes from 303 MullenLowe Perth, which was appointed by the Cancer Council WA in October to provide creative services for Western Australian Mental Health Commission’s (MHC) programs Alcohol. Think Again, Drug Aware and Strong Spirit Strong Mind.

John Linton, head of planning at the agency, said “knowledge is power” when it comes to drug use.

“The problem we uncovered was that much of the public discussion and media commentary around MDMA, painted unknown contaminants as the major threat, which dangerously underplayed the real harm that the MDMA itself can cause,” Linton said.

“What’s more, this was leading event goers to seek out purer MDMA options in the mistaken belief they were a safer option.”

303 MullenLowe worked with Siamese on the animated campaign assets, which take viewers through the potential harms of MDMA, including heat stroke, internal drowning and serotonin toxicity.

“We didn’t necessarily want to shut the party down – we just wanted festival-goers to ‘party smarter’. The campaign itself was drug education with a difference,” Richard Berney, executive creative director at 303 MullenLowe, said.


Cancer Council Western Australia
Program Manager: Julia Stafford
Policy and Research Coordinator: Danica Keric

Mental Health Commission
Manager, Public Education and Health Promotion: Hannah Samsa
Senior Project Officer, Public Education and Health Promotion: Sharnae Zanotti

Agency: 303 MullenLowe Perth
Executive Creative Director: Richard Berney
Senior Writer: Maya Halilovic
Art Director: Stephen Hansen
Design Lead: Jake Ransom
Head of Planning: John Linton
Business Lead: Krista Song
Producer: Jonathan Julius

Production Company: Siamese
Creative Lead and Designer: Kristen King
Technical Director: Andrew Buckley
Animator: Tim Merks
Producer: Francesca Hope

Music: Ian Berney
Sound: Mike Fragomeni @ Cue Sound

Media Agency: Initiative Perth
Investment Partnerships Manager: Lauren De Rozario
Investment Partnerships Executive: Christine Foster


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