Meth Project Foundation is a nonprofit organization devoted to preventing and reducing the use of Methamphetamine (particularly among teens) via hard-hitting advertising campaigns. This month, the Journal of Marketing Research cited The Meth Project’s advertising as effective in deterring substance abuse. The ads don’t just instill fear but “disgust target audiences.” Graphic images of skin sores and rotting teeth compelled more viewers not to use illegal drugs than images evoking “fear only,” like the famous cracked egg sizzling on a frying pan–or a closed coffin. Since The Project’s launch in 2005, teen Meth use has declined 65% in Arizona, 63% in Montana, and 50% in Idaho. (In 2009, The Project was Montana’s largest advertiser.) Last week, it was announced that The Meth Project will become a part of The Partnership at Drugfree.org (the nation’s largest org dedicated to reducing teen substance abuse), the one responsible for that “this is your brain on drugs” egg/pan sizzle.
The Meth Project was founded by Montanan tech exec Thomas M. Siebel as a private-sector response to a critical public health issue. (Siebel serves on many boards and is ranked one of the world’s top 25 philanthropists by Barron’s Magazine, among other lists.) Worth $1.8 billion (he sold his company to Oracle for $5.9 in 2005), Siebel also writes big checks to politicians. In 2008, it was Siebel who introduced Republican vice-presidential nominee Sarah Palin at a California fund-raising brunch: “Sarah Palin carries the flag of outrage … for each of us who cries out, ‘We’re mad as hell, and we’re not going to take it anymore.'” That same year Alaskan State Troopers dubbed Ms. Palin’s hometown of Wasilla, where she was mayor, as the Meth capital of Alaska (population 7,831).