Medication Clean-Up Campaign


While the benefits of over-the-counter and prescription medications are invaluable to individuals, the risks associated with expired, outdated, unused or misdirected household medications are enormous. The weakest link in the chain of medication safety is the tracking and disposal of medications after they reach the patient's home. In the United States, approximately 50% of all accidental poisoning deaths are attributed to prescription medications, and the increasing prevalence of prescription drug abuse by teenagers further adds to the sense of urgency. The other major concern associated with household medications is the risk of a medication mix-up, especially since many pill bottles look alike. As a result, public health authorities have increasingly sought to advance public awareness and action to remove unused or outdated household medications from their communities.

Through a cooperative coalition led by Drug Free Pennsylvania and the Pennsylvania Medical Society, as well as support from federal, state and local health and law enforcement partners, the "Clean 'Em Out, Drop 'Em Off" campaign was inaugurated. The concept behind the campaign was to successfully communicate the importance of household medication removal and disposal, while also providing regional events at which families and individuals could drop off unused and expired medications for destruction. A combination of public relations and community outreach efforts were used to roll out the initiative.

Wendt Partners was retained to design new program branding and create a more sophisticated communications platform for the initiative. The new focus emphasized the diversity of medication formats (including extended-release capsules and other formulations), and created a collection of characters that communicated a positive, non-threatening image to reinforce the campaign message. Supporting materials were then developed and delivered for partner marketing and community outreach. As a result, the new program achieved a dramatic 20% increase in the volume of medications collected, resulting in 14,868 doses of narcotics removed from one participating community alone. Further, partner agencies noted that other local community efforts utilizing a different marketing message were far less successful, proving that the brand strategy had a major impact.


Education, Nonprofit


Branding & Messaging, Integrated Communications

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The Medication Clean-Up Campaign was a success. We collected 502 pounds of medications and 14,868 doses of narcotics at one event alone. Other local drop-off sites used different marketing materials and did not come close to seeing the same turnout that same day. Thank you for an outstanding branding and strategic marketing effort on behalf of this critical initiative.
Chad Rohrbach, Executive Director, Drug Free Pennsylvania

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