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New Animation Campaign Promotes Addiction Awareness

With Comic-Con still fresh on people’s minds, now actually seems like a good time to bring an innovative, adult-oriented animation campaign to the forefront. And a Illinois-based advertising agency is doing just that, with a twist. Their cartoon shorts are actually focused on addiction and building awareness about treatment and recovery.


The Chicago Tribune recently covered this viral series of vignettes in their Editorial Section, highlighting how they’re already helping to move the needle on social networks like YouTube. The campaign itself is simply titled “Addiction” and will consist of four episodes aimed at educating the public. Two have already been released and focus on specific themes.


Episode 1, titled “The Hijacker,”  uses dark imagery to convey how addiction can change a person’s brain function. You can watch it in its entirety below…


Episode 2 was just released this week and covers the risk factors for developing a substance abuse disorder. You can watch “Whirpools of Risk” below…


All of them were created with input from The Addiction Policy Forum, a Washington D.C.-based partnership of advocates who are personally invested in the cause. Policy president, Jessica Hulsey Nickel (who lost her parents to addiction) spoke to The Tribune about the intent behind the videos.


“There’s so much misinformation about this disease, everything from this being a choice and not a disease, the misunderstanding about how treatment works, misunderstandings about medications, about lengths of treatment and recovery support, how you develop this disease in the first place,” she explained. “We are surrounded and drowning in misinformation and myths. This series is a way to reach a wide group of people — those struggling with addiction, their family members and anyone who could better understand the issue.”


And Hulsey Nickel added that there is a calculated strategy at play. Many of the data and messages behind the campaigns can be hard for everyday people to digest. But, as she puts it, separating them into accessible, animated “bite-sized chunks” can do a much better job of conveying the message. And the Policy Forum made sure of that, by working with test groups and hiring talented animators whose work can capture people’s attention.


The group behind the “Addiction” series hope that this is the start of many good things to come. They plan to continue releasing content and eventually hold screenings in theaters throughout the country. They’ve also developed a website with links to helpful treatment resources and hope to build custom hashtags and social media movements to keep the momentum going.