dope head

MEDIADOPE (drugs are the media)

Last summer the Brandpower Team travelled to Nepal to meet with Tom Lioncraut, an American hippie and travel guru who, a few years ago, had to flee the States to evade trial for heroin trafficking. Tom, who still swears his innocence, settled down in a colonial house near the Pokhara Lake; the place is surrounded by a bamboo porch, gently perched at the foothills of snow-capped mountains. On his property Tom grows what conoisseurs reckon as the best grass in the Himalayas. But we didn’t go to the other side of the world just to smoke his pot. Our trip was for a good cause: Tom, in fact, decided to run a worldwide campaign against drugs and he called us to get some help. After a brief conversation on monsoons, tigers and women’s rights in Nepal, we asked him which drug he wanted to fight, in particular. Tom looked puzzled by the question, then candidly replied: “any drug!”

FBI, by all means, considers Tom Lioncraut a criminal. On the other hand, he’s also a drug authority who – in the past – helped several governments in their attempt to curb the drug cartel. Nobody, infact, knows drugs, from production to smuggling, better than him. He’s also familiar with drug addicts’ mentality, their psychology, rituals, fears and weaknesses.

Tom laid down the problem of drug-fighting starting from advertising. He said that tv commercials against drugs always got it wrong. “They fucked it all up for at least two reasons: drug addicts are just focussed on one thing: drugs. They don’t even have time for sex, so why should they waste time watching tv? Actually, a person who’s high on LSD or peyote can watch tv for hours, seeing the craziest cartoons without even switching the bloody thing on!” He paused for a second to light a spliff. “The other reason is that advertising against drugs actually drives many people to try it because ad-people make everything look so damn’ cool. It’s immoral.”

We couldn’t agree more with Tom, especially after trying his grass which had put all of us in a super mellow mood. We worked and smoked for a couple of days and, at the end of a quite enjoyable brainstorming, we came up with a revolutionary insight: if addicts think only about drugs, why not using drugs as the media?

“Bingo!” Tom thought the idea of placing anti-drug ads on pills and LSD blotters was a strike of genius. He said: “that’s the fucking thing I was looking for!”. We proposed Tom to use also objects and tools linked to the ritual of drug’s preparation as a media; syringes and spoons for heroin, credit cards and make-up mirrors for cocaine, for instance. We even thought of placing a warning sign against glue sniffing on glue tins. The list of crazy media kept running for hours. We are featuring here only a part of the items that went into production. Our main goal was to get in touch with people who have the attention span of a squirrel, and deliver them a message that sounded like a last call from hell. We went for harsh, punch-in-the-stomach short lines. “No need for literature!” Tom said. ” Also because drug addicts have very few neurons left, and their thinking is fucking slow. So, if we have to insult the buggers to get a reaction, let’s do that!”

Above: the question is printed in a blood-red type which screams for attention. Below: spoon and lighter are daily, familiar tools to heroin addicts. The best way to rehab these people is not asking them to give up the most powerful thing on Earth. It’s telling them to try another drug, for free. Methadone, as a matter of fact, is a good substitute to heroin, and the first step to get them out of this shit.

We didn’t limit our creative effort to a few slogans. The items have been actually produced by Mediadope, a joint venture (pun not intended) between Tom Lioncraut and Brandpwoder. We are now licensing these products to business firms and institutions who want to join the project.

Above: the Mediadope logo and its catching payoff.

Below: upper and downers come with a wide choice of slogans. Tom is convinced that the message, even if unread, can still works at subliminal level inside your body, but we are not sure of this. 

Above: the Mediadope Credit Card warns cocaine users about the financial consequences of their bad habit. Brain cells are not the only things to get burnt when you sniff coke.

Above: reading the small print can save your life. The provocation is intentional: LSD sold on blotters, thanks to Mediadope, turns into a powerful media against drugs.

Above: The glue tin, for the moment, is only a mock up; we are contacting industries to receive extra support. Glue sniffers are among the poorest and least informed drug addicts in the world; the brain damage coming from this stuff is something you don’t want to know.

The production and distribution’s cost of all these items is negligible but the positive impact of Mediadope can be enormous. We hope this brilliant, young project will help Tom to rebuild his reputation and, hopefully, get a suspension of indictment from FBI. The people who should be jailed for drug crimes, meanwhile, are still free. According to Tom, some of them still work in advertising. 🙂

Support our cause. Send your ideas. Join the conversation!

The Brandpowder Team.


Join the discussion and tell us your opinion.

September 12, 2012 at 8:16 AM

GENIUS!! this is what strategic design is all about.

September 12, 2012 at 9:56 AM
– In reply to: laranasser

Thank you Lara!

the B Team is extremely flattered by your comment and mailed it to Tom Lioncraut, who sends you his love and best regards.

Keep in touch!

September 12, 2012 at 11:11 PM

interesting idea!!!….. i like the opening picture, is he Tom??

September 13, 2012 at 6:52 AM
– In reply to: Danielle

Hallo Danielle,

thank you for your kind words. Yes, the opening pictures is a snapshot we took when we went to Nepal. We forwarded your email to Tom who said to be happy there are people who still like him. He sends you his best wishes. And of course we send you ours,

The Brandpowder Team

September 17, 2012 at 8:38 PM

brilliant!!! but what do you do to stop people smoking dope?? they would see your idea going up in smoke!!!! tom should stop smoking too, not good for his lungs and he doesn’t look very healthy in the picture.

September 19, 2012 at 9:10 PM
– In reply to: marco

Hallo Marco,

you are absolutely right. Mediadope undergoes the same obsolescence and weakness of every other media. You can wrap your fish on the newspaper’s financial page, you can take a nap in front of your favorite tv program, or get a beer out of the fridge while there’s an ad against alcoholism. Or you simply make a joint out of a mediadope message printed on cigarette paper. Where’s the difference. As for Tom, he’s all right – thank you for your concern – he sends his best regards.

And ours too, of course.

The BT

September 19, 2012 at 8:05 PM

WOW…this is a very good approach to awareness.

September 19, 2012 at 9:12 PM
– In reply to: adrease

Hallo Adrease,

very happy to hear from you again. Thank you for your comment!

The Brandpowder Team

The R.reply
September 20, 2012 at 1:55 PM

Hello BT. You should think to extend the idea of advertsing drug-fighting into funeral services. It would be too late for the one in the casket but could reach out all the idiots on drugs attending the funeral. Just an idea.

September 21, 2012 at 8:54 AM
– In reply to: The R.

Pure genius. We’ll do that.

The BT

The R.reply
October 18, 2012 at 6:20 PM

I am wondering if the BT got too heavy on drugs to be able to keep posting new ideas !

October 18, 2012 at 8:13 PM
– In reply to: The R.

Dear R.
(Ronald, Robert, Rania, Ruby, Rainer?) the BT is always high because, as ancient wisdom suggests, there’s no hope without dope.

Thanks for keeping in touch with us.


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