DXM is an active ingredient in over-the-counter couch medicines. It's a cheap way to get high. And it's been around for a while. When I was in high school they called it Robotripping. Anyway, like the majority of drugs, the side effects of quaffing massive quantities of cough syrup are quite unpleasant.
In an effort to show teenagers just how unpleasant, Tribal and the Partnership for a Drug Free Kids created DXM Labworks, a mobile app that allows you to experience DXM without taking it. You can create your own robot and then go through a series of tasks to complete while high.
While I appreciate the effort to generate awareness about drug abuse of any kind, this app seems a bit flawed to me. Perhaps the real intention is to get teens playing with the app int he hopes they'll visit the What is DXM website and see the real testimonials. But I'm not sure if a puking robot is the best way to start. Look at the image above. Just saying the words "puking robot," makes me laugh. It sounds like a bit from a Seth Macfarlane show. And if a grownup is laughing, what will a teenager do?
Far more effective to me are the stories on the Partnership For A Drug Free Kids' What is DXM website. These real stories are from teens. And they're not only compelling, but they paint a much starker reality. As opposed to an app that demonstrates side effects, the stories get to the emotional heart of why kids feel the need to take drugs, and the serious repercussions that can occur as a result. Yes, they're straight up testimonials. And what's worse is they've edited out the worst parts. One from a kid called Jake starts with his taking cough syrup and describing the experiences and quickly ends with his going to rehab and getting a felony charge after trying other drugs without ever explaining how that happened. Maybe the intention was to take both the "fun," tactic and the "scared straight" tactic in the hopes of reaching kids in whatever way they can. If that's the case, it's admirable. To me though, a testimonial is more effective than playing with puking robots on an app.
ECD: Kinney Edwards
GCD: Josh McGuire
AD: Stephanie Spero
CW: Brent Goldman
Producer: Shannon Strange
Prod. Comp: Media Monks