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"You Think You Know"
A public awareness campaign to educate the public about counterfeit pills


From 2019 to 2020 there was a 16% increase in unintentional overdose deaths involving fentanyl among young people ages 15 - 34 in Connecticut; 352 people in this age group died. During this time, counterfeit prescription drugs were increasingly being found locally and nationally. A local substance use prevention council was approached by the family of a young Connecticut man, who lost his life to a counterfeit Xanax, asking for help raising awareness of counterfeit pills. Attention to the topic increased on a national level in February 2021 when TV personality, Laura Berman, lost her son to a counterfeit Xanax he purchased on Snapchat. Her family was among many others whose children purchased fake pills on social media. As a result of local and national deaths involving young people and fentanyl-laced counterfeit pills, a group of prevention partners across Connecticut came together and approached Daydream Communications to develop a public awareness campaign to educate teens, young adults and their caregivers about the dangers of counterfeit prescription drugs. 

Target Audience

The primary target audience was teens and young adults in Connecticut. 

The secondary target audience was parents/caregivers of teens and young adults in Connecticut. 


Objective 1: Educate communities in Connecticut about the presence of counterfeit prescription drugs and the dangers associated.

Objective 2: Provide resources for parents/caregivers that help guide discussions with young people and provide teens/young adults with educational information as well as mental health and addiction support resources. 

The ultimate goal is to save lives. Even just one life saved is a success.


  • Narrowing the message

    • Needed to address general prescription drug misuse, while keeping the focus on counterfeit medications.

  • Balancing “scare tactic” & educational message.

  • Addressing reasons people turn to prescription drugs in the first place.

  • Developing a campaign that 10 organizations agree on.

  • Small promotion budget - this was the biggest challenge in 2022.


To address the needs and objectives, an integrated marketing strategy was used throughout the campaign. Due to the small promotion budget, an emphasis was placed on digital marketing because it was cost-effective and allowed us to reach the target audiences efficiently. Ads were targeted to parents/caregivers and youth/young adults in select cities and towns with high fentanyl-related overdose deaths. 


The campaign was launched in two phases. Phase one promotion began in October 2021 and included a mix of digital ads, out-of-home ads, social media and public relations. The focus of this phase was promoting the website, which served as the basis for the campaign. The site includes resources for parents/caregivers, teens/young adults as well as educators. By driving traffic to the website, users could easily learn about the dangers of counterfeit pills and fentanyl, identify where pills are obtained and be reminded that the only safe pill is one that is prescribed for you and is from a legitimate retail pharmacy. 


Phase two began in January of 2022. In this phase, a toolkit of free materials was developed so communities could download them and share them. We also launched a blog, and a monthly e-newsletter. To promote these materials, we did ad campaigns in select Connecticut towns. Additionally, we were invited to speak at three national conferences.

Promotion for Campaign Launch

Bus Ads


  • For the launch, we ran a 4-week run of King, Queen and bus shelter ads. in key cities with high overdose rates.

  • We received bonus placements, which extended the campaign and doubled impressions for a total of 6,608,000 IMPRESSIONS! launched September 1, 2021

To date, we have reached 8,390 users in all 50 states.

The website features information and resources for teens/young adults, parents and educators.

Sponsored Story

A sponsored story was placed on the on Hearst Media network and promoted across local and national sites with banner ads. This ad targeted parents of teens and young adults. It received 623,954 impressions  and 2,561 clicks within article. View article.

Public Relations

Social Media: Facebook, Twitter & Instagram


Daily posts are placed on all platforms to drive followers to the website and provide them with other educational information related to fentanyl, counterfeit drugs and mental health.

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Instagram


  • 4-week run of billboards in downtown New Haven, CT and two high visibility locations on I-95 in New Haven, CT.

  • In 4 weeks, there were:

    • 4,891,364 impressions on I-95 only

  • TOTAL: 7,213,608 IMPRESSIONS!

Print Ad in 2021

  • A full page ad was placed in the December issue of CT Magazine

  • This issue had a bonus distribution of 40,000 because it was sent as a gift in the Thanksgiving issue to subscribers of Greenwich Time, Stamford Advocate, Norwalk Hour, Connecticut Post, The News-Times & New Haven Register.

  • Nearly 100,000 copies were circulated with a readership of just under 500,000!

Toolkit Launched in 2022

The free toolkit of materials was created so other towns could access them, insert their logo and spread You Think You Know in their community. It includes:

  • 4 fact sheets - English & Spanish

  • 2 Postcards - English & Spanish

  • Social media graphics

  • Banner ads

  • Posters

  • Billboards

  • Brand materials

Access the toolkit at

See all of the fact sheets here.


  • In January 2022, a monthly
    e-newsletter was created. It is used to promote our blogs, local resources and national news.

  • Our average open rate is 42% and our average click rate is 22%.

Regional Ad Campaign in 2022 

14 towns in southwest Connecticut tasked Daydream Communications with creating an ad campaign to reach their communities and spread the You Think You Know message. The campaign resulted in a significant increase in website traffic.

This campaign was responsible for
40% of total website traffic in 2022

Compared to the previous 6 weeks, the website had a:

  • 456% increase in users 

  • 486% increase in new users

  • 167% increase in pageviews

Bus Ads

  • 9 King Size Ads (3 in each market) ran in southwest Connecticut in the cities of Stamford, Norwalk and Bridgeport.

  • We received a bonus of 151,200 impressions for a total of 1,360,800 IMPRESSIONS for  one month campaign.

Display Ads & Mobile Ads

  • Ads were targeted to two different audiences -- the teens/young adults and parents.

  • The banner ads ran on a national display network and 465,212 impressions
    and the click rate was 120% higher click through rate than other substance use related ads according to Hearst data.

  • Geofencing was used to target select towns. We had 520,344 impressions and had a  201% higher click through rate than substance use related ads according to Vector Media data.

3-Story Digital Billboard

This billboard ran in a upscale mall in Norwalk, CT. The exact numbers weren't able to be provided, but it is estimated we reached at least 300,000 people in that city throughout the month. 

Print Ads in 2022

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Connecticut Post - Best of Summer

We placed a full page ad in the Connecticut Post Best of Summer issue that had a bonus distribution. 

  • Circulation: 77,163

  • Readership:  192,000

  • Bonus website banner ad: 40,000 impressions

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Connecticut Post - Sunday Issue

We placed a quarter page ad in a Sunday issue of Connecticut Post.

  • Circulation: 22,620

  • Readership: 56,550

Connecticut Magazine

We ran a full page ad in the December issue of Connecticut Magazine. It had a bonus distribution of 40,000. 

  • Circulation: 100,000

  • Readership: 500,000

Campaign Results Summary

To date, the campaign has been successful in reaching a wide audience in Connecticut and beyond due to being invited to speak at national conferences. We presented at two Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America (CADCA) conferences in 2022 and we hosted a webinar for the New England Prevention Technology Transfer Center. We will also be presenting in April 2023 at the RX and Illicit Drug Summit in Atlanta, GA. As a result of the national attention, we we have had website visitors all 50 states and in Connecticut, we have reached 135 out of 169 towns. Daydream Communications also won a Gold Marcom Award for the campaign.


During the initial phase of promotion, we received press coverage in multiple towns and CADCA’s “Coalitions in Action” newsletter, a professional publication (see below). Promotion funds have been extremely limited, but we have been successful with the outreach we have done. The targeted ad campaign done in spring 2022 increased website visitors by 456% and increased pageviews by 167%. The banner ad and geofencing ads were also very successful. The banner ads had a click rate of 0.11%, which was higher than the 0.5% click rate that is the average through Hearst Media. The geofencing ads had a 201% higher click rate than the average of the other ads in the substance abuse vertical for Vector Media.


Most importantly, fentanyl-related overdose deaths decreased by 32% in ages 15 - 24.
While the campaign is not the direct cause of the decrease, it’s safe to say greater awareness of the issues has contributed to saving lives
, which is our main goal

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