Crime Stoppers meth PSA wins international awards

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From the first time he saw the 30-second SoMETHing is Wrong Public Service Announcement, Paul Johnson knew it was a powerful message that was delivered well. He had no idea that the PSA would also be a winner.

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Crime Stoppers recently received a Summit International Bronze Award for excellence in marketing and communications and a Crime Stopper International TV Media Award for its methamphetamine reduction initiative. The SoMETHing is Wrong public service campaign was a collaboration between Winnipeg Crime Stoppers, Brandon Crime Stoppers and Manitoba Crime Stoppers and was launched in March 2020 with bus shelter posters, TV spots and digital advertising.

“I’ve always said this was a made-in-Manitoba program with people from the Manitoba region and I’m quite proud of it,” said Johnson, president of Winnipeg Crime Stoppers. “Once that happened and the more I looked at it and I think the more I started to understand the message, especially with the mother and child coloring and watching the drug dealers and the fact that ‘she could do something about it. It was this subtle message that I don’t think I understood right away.

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“And that was exactly what we wanted. We wanted people to feel confident to pick up the phone and do something to do their part to make their community a little safer because unfortunately the police cannot do it themselves. They need our help and that is what we are here for.

Designed to address the growing methamphetamine crisis, the PSA, in a 15-second version, features methamphetamine dealers thanking residents for not “keeping their mouths shut” and not reporting it. drug activity in their community. It ends with a young mother observing a drug case in her apartment building, then watching her young daughter coloring at the kitchen table before calling Crime Stoppers.

Key messages targeted citizens to encourage them to give Crime Stoppers anonymous advice on the province’s drug traffickers and importers. Contact information and calls to action in creating the campaign have been included. In addition to raising awareness and identifying methamphetamine dealers, the campaign has also had positive spinoffs, including the recovery of illegal guns and even stolen cars, Johnson said.

“We were getting all kinds of side effects,” Johnson said. “Just the fact that it created a huge awareness of the program at a time when we were pretty limited on what we could do.”

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The program was launched in early March 2020, just days before the province reported the first presumptive positive case of COVID-19 in Manitoba. While not trying to downplay the impact and devastation of the pandemic, Johnson said it has turned into some kind of blessing in disguise. While there were already places reserved on Bell Media for public service announcements, additional places opened up as advertisers began to cut back on their spending.

“It got to the point where everyone said they couldn’t believe how often they saw it, how often this message came out,” Johnson said.

The Something Wrong public awareness campaign was funded by the Criminal Assets Forfeiture Unit of the Manitoba Department of Justice. Part of the creative work was carried out by Winnipeg-based agencies Fawkes Advertising and Numan Productions. The steering committee for this joint initiative includes Johnson, Rick Thomas of Brandon Crime Stoppers and Boris Nowosad of Manitoba Crime Stoppers.

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“We don’t need the rewards to keep going, but it’s one of those nice things to see famous people helping Crime Stoppers,” Johnson said.

“Proceeds of Crime was taking the money we got from criminals and turning it over to catch more criminals,” he added.

Since the creation of Winnipeg Crime Stoppers in 1984, more than 123,000 tips by phone, WebTips and text messages have been received from citizens. Crime Stoppers Winnipeg is built on the premise that for every crime committed, someone other than the criminal has important information that will lead to a solution. For more information visit winnipegcrimestoppers.org and something is wrong.ca .

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Twitter: @SunGlenDawkins

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Mark M. Gagnon