The Montana Meth Project is a Montana-based anti-drug organization founded by billionaire Thomas Siebel. The main focus of the project is an advertising campaign, based on ads that are intended to horrify viewers concerning the possible dangers of methamphetamine. The advertisements are based on a theme of regret, occasionally with not-yet-addicted teenagers viewing their future selves, who warn them about the consequences of trying methamphetamine. Common elements are amphetamine psychosis and the decline of each subject's health and living conditions. As of 2007, the ads have been picked up in other U.S. states, such as Arizona, Idaho, and Illinois.
All 12 television spots were conceived by San Francisco-based advertising agency Venables Bell &
Partners. The 2005 and 2006 spots were directed by Tony Kaye, while the 2007 spots were directed by Darren Aronofsky.
2005-2006: Directed by Tony Kaye
Bathtub - A teenage girl in her bathrobe talks on her cell phone while looking into her bathroom mirror. She says, "yeah, my parents think I'm sleeping at your house". She hangs up and gets into the shower. While showering, she turns around and screams when she sees a pockmarked, bleeding version of herself shivering at the bottom of the shower, who pleads, "don't do it."
Laundromat - A deranged, addicted young man runs into a laundromat and demands the money of everyone inside, beating a man to the floor and screaming in the faces of women and children. He then runs to his pre-addicted self, grabs him by the collar, and shouts "this wasn't supposed to be your life!"
Just Once - A teen girl declares that she is only trying methamphetamine "once", leading to a sequence of further compromises to support her addiction, each of which she promises will be "just once." The ad ends with her pre-teen sister stealing her methamphetamine and whispering "I'm going to try meth, just once."
That Guy - A teen boy states "I'm going to try meth just once, I'm not gonna be like that guy." He gestures towards a later version of himself, who deteriorates further, finally ending up shaking and sweating on a drug dealer's couch. A teen girl purchases from the dealer, saying "I'm gonna try meth just once, I'm not gonna be like that guy," indicating the now-wretched boy.
Junkie Den - In a shadowy drug den, a young boy tries methamphetamine for the first time. He is congratulated by dirty, drug-addicted people, who describe his future life as "one of us". One woman says that they will "shoot up together", two addicted men say that they and the boy will "steal together... and we'll be sleepin' together, too." The boy's protest that he is only trying it once is met with howls of laughter.
Crash - A car is driving in the rain at night. The tire explodes, and the car flips over. In narration, the teenage driver wishes that she had crashed on her way to "that party", even if she were to have broken her neck and become paralyzed, because it would have prevented her from trying methamphetamine. The girl, now addicted, smokes the drug in a dirty, run-down apartment, in which she says "now this is my life."
Everything Else - A girl approaches a group of people who are using methamphetamine, and requests some for herself. The dealer gives her the drug, as well as "everything else" that comes with it. He aggressively saddles her with an intimidating drug dealer, "meth boyfriends" who rape her, an addicted baby, and in a mirror, he shows her her bleeding "meth face."
Jumped - A younger teen boy is chased through a parking lot by three older males, who beat him to the ground and kick him. In narration, the boy wishes he had been assaulted that night, because then he would not have tried methamphetamine. The worst of the three raises a cinder block high over his head, threatening to drop it on the boy and crush his skull. The camera cuts to a drug den, where the boy, shaking, says "now all I do is meth."
2007: Directed by Darren Aronofsky
Boyfriend - A teen girl lies on a bed in her underwear, as an older man zips up his pants and walks out the door of the motel room in which the girl lies. In narration, the girl states, "I love my boyfriend, we've been together since like 8th grade. He takes care of me." As the older man exits, he hands something to the boyfriend, who stands outside of the door. The boyfriend enters the room and shows the girl the bag of methamphetamine that the man gave him, as she cringes and weeps.
Mother - A teenage boy raids his mother's purse for money, while in narration, he talks about how much he loves her. When she enters the room and objects to his theft, both dismayed and concerned for her son, he strikes her to the floor. She cries out to him, hanging onto his leg. He kicks free and flees, as she lies sobbing on the floor.
Friends - From the interior of a car, we see one worried passenger, the reckless driver, and a second worried passenger. A female narrator says that she is "tight with her friends", who "always look out for me". The narrator is revealed as the fourth person in the car, slumped in the backseat, as the car halts in front of a hospital emergency room. Her 'friends' pull her unresponsive body out of the car, dump her next to the curb, and speed off.
Parents - An upset teenage boy approaches his parents' house, knocking on the door, and shouting "I'm sorry, Dad!" In a narration, the boy talks about how he's always been really close with his parents. Inside the house, the parents are panicked and distraught, and turn off the light. The boy kicks the door many times, begging to be let in, screaming that he's going to kill them.
Though many in the state legislature hail the project as an unprecedented success--even going so far as to fund the previously privately-funded project with tax dollars some still criticize the Project for its use of "scare tactics." However, surveys by the Centers for Disease Control and the Montana Office of Public Instruction have demonstrated the effectiveness of the Meth Project's prevention campaign, which was cited by the White House as a "model for the nation."