Cannes Lions

Don't Live In Denial, Ohio








Communities across the U.S. face an epidemic: on average, 134 Americans die each day from an opioid overdose. The state of Ohio has been especially hard hit, with 4,293 opioid overdose deaths in 2017, over 1,000 more than the next closest state. Research indicates that nearly 66% of Americans believe opioids are a problem, but only about 19% believe that addiction or an overdose could happen in their family.

To address this crisis, we were tasked to develop a public education campaign that would help prevent prescription opioid abuse among the next generation, on behalf of the Ohio Opioid Education Alliance. Our ultimate goal is to shift the “not my kid” mindset.


We created the town of Denial, Ohio - a community just like any other. But Denial is a place where parents believe opioid abuse won’t affect “my kids or family.” These parents believe that for many good reasons, their kids would never try the opioids that are often easily accessible in their parent’s medicine cabinet and are immune to the dangers of the crisis.

Denial, Ohio is a place that Ohio parents can identify with. Through locations and casting, we created a familiar look and feel. And based on our research, we demonstrated why Denial is a place they don’t want to live – because those families in the ad falsely believe the opioid crisis wouldn’t impact their town, family or kids.


Research uncovered that parents dangerously assume their kids will not misuse opioids and do not take action to prevent it. Prevention research shows that talking with kids about drugs can reduce their risk of using by 50%. Further, 40% of teens who misuse a prescription opioid get it from a parent’s medicine cabinet.

We built a PR campaign focused on parents and caregivers to have them talk with kids, safeguard opioids they’re currently using and safely dispose of leftover medications.

We built a coalition of more than 65 statewide associations and businesses, including two Fortune 100 companies, and developed an innovative media partnership with WBNS television in Columbus.

Messages are spread through paid and earned media, our statewide association partners to their members, grassroots social media and ad placements, television news segments and an in-depth special, and town halls on the opioid crisis.


Campaign launched in select counties in Ohio -- focused in local TV, radio, digital and outdoor.


Parent and caregiver awareness -- driving over 9 million video views, 100K social impressions, 10,000 site visits and coverage from all three major media outlets within the first 3 months of being in market. Since the launch of the campaign, Alliance partners have grown from 4 to 58 and continue to grow.