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Duncan Channon Wins California Opioid and Fentanyl Education Account


Duncan Channon will move immediately on media planning and buying to activate existing Centre for Disease Control (CDC) education creative

Duncan Channon Wins California Opioid and Fentanyl Education Account

With fentanyl-related deaths among Californians age 20 to 34 skyrocketing 376% between 2018 and 2020, the California Department of Public Health has named Duncan Channon lead creative, strategy and media agency for a two-year state-wide opioid/fentanyl overdose education and prevention campaign - funded up to $40M. 

As its first assignment, Duncan Channon will move immediately on media planning and buying to activate existing Centre for Disease Control (CDC) education creative - while simultaneously developing a strategy that defines the opioid and fentanyl issue to create a shared understanding among Californians of this crisis. Duncan Channon will develop an integrated, multicultural public education campaign around opioid and fentanyl risks and overdose prevention to breakthrough with Californians ages 16 to 21, as well as young adults up to age 39. The campaign aims to change public perceptions to destigmatize the issue, and normalise new strategies to reduce harm and opioid/fentanyl overdose instances. California saw 224 fentanyl-related deaths among teens ages 15-19 in 2021 as fentanyl is increasingly being found in pills and other party drugs easily accessible online and from peers.

“Before we can engage Californians around how they can help reduce harm from opioids and fentanyl, we have to develop a collective understanding of the problem now and how it affects all of us - teens and young people included,” said Andy Berkenfield, CEO, Duncan Channon. “We understand the gravity of the communications challenge ahead, and are ready to pour every ounce of our insight, empathy and experience into this assignment to change perceptions and norms around the dangers of fentanyl in a way that can literally save lives.” 

The California Department of Public Health awarded Duncan Channon the two-year, up to $40M contract following a competitive review with multiple agencies that concluded in January 2023. Duncan Channon’s first original work will include culturally relevant creative for Latine, Black/African American and Asian Pacific Islander communities developed in partnership with agency partners Acento and APartnership. The public education effort will include TV, radio, OOH, social and digital media and influencer activations, as well as PR by partner agency Berlin Rosen.

“Our campaign must remove the stigma from this conversation so that Californians have a new understanding of - and receptivity to - harm reduction strategies that can help prevent overdose deaths, including inadvertent fentanyl poisoning,” said Robin Christensen, chief, substance and addiction prevention branch at California Department of Public Health. “Any creative and communications approach must meet people where they are at, and reflect a nuanced understanding of their lives and cultural realities.”

The CA Department of Health opioid engagement adds to Duncan Channon’s growing body of social impact work in public health and health equity. In the past two years alone, Duncan Channon has been tapped for the State’s $40M Covid vaccine education campaign, as well a 2023 state-wide effort to raise awareness for Covid therapeutics -- particularly among communities that have been disproportionately impacted by the virus and historically underserved by the medical system.

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Duncan Channon, Wed, 24 May 2023 14:58:15 GMT