starts with one

Washington State Opioid Prevention Campaign


“It begins with just one step. One act of courage. One honest conversation. When it comes to preventing opioid misuse, the one who can make a difference is you.”



THAT’S THE CAMPAIGN THEME we developed alongside the Washington State Department of Social and Health Services for our states first-ever opioid misuse and abuse prevention campaign.

The campaign was built on extensive best practice research in social marketing and behavior change. The crux of it? Scare tactics receive attention, but do not lead to long-term behavior change. Instead, we built a campaign that used empowering messages and showcases positive behaviors around opioid use, storage and disposal.


Understanding the Issue

To understand the breadth of the issue specific to three distinct audiences in Washington State, we conducted interviews and focus groups with individuals from each target audience as well as individuals who work with these key audiences around similar issues. We uncovered existing awareness levels and perceptions, as well as tested messages and campaign brand concepts.

Building a Campaign

With the research in hand, we built a strong campaign brand and communication plan, and developed campaign assets including a campaign website, collateral, advertising and social media content.

We’ve focused our efforts on three key focus areas for getting the message out:

  • Paid media (TV, radio, outdoor and digital) to reach targeted demographics with campaign messages and public service announcements.
  • Earned media to educate target audiences through news channels.
  • Activating a partner program by providing tools to prevention and treatment partners, agencies, non-profits, associations, universities and others for communicating to their audiences across the state.
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Campaign Promotion

To promote this campaign, we built an accessible and customizable partner toolkit for partners across the state to download and use in their own communications programs.

opioid partner toolkit

Preliminary Results

Washington is one of the first states to tackle the opioid crisis with a comprehensive campaign that activates partners in every corner of the state. Within the first month of the campaign’s launch, we saw over 300 downloads of the partner toolkit. Washingtonians surveyed after seeing campaign stated that they would be 40% more likely to have a tough conversation with a family member or friend about opioids, and 22% more likely to lock up their medications. With a high level of collaboration between communities and organizations across our state, Washington is off to a great start as a national leader addressing this crisis.

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