Despite the global effort and the resources invested in addressing the drug problem, cocaine use continues to grow worldwide, while its glamorous image has shielded its ‘brand’ from being successfully challenged. As long as the demand exists, cocaine will be manufactured and distributed, regardless of its enormous cost to society. 

‘Debrand Cocaine’ is a social marketing initiative that aims to change public perceptions of cocaine in an effort to reduce cocaine use around the world. The objective is to raise public awareness of the social, environmental, political and economic cost of the cocaine supply chain (production, trafficking and distribution), and to promote shared global responsibility and economic activity that can replace cocaine as one of Latin America’s biggest exports.

In cooperation with La Burra Foundation, the pilot ‘Debrand cocaine’ program was implemented in Colombia over a twelve-month timeframe.


The goals of the pilot project are to:

  • Create awareness and begin to change perceptions of cocaine in Colombia
  • Identify target audiences and their perceptions of cocaine
  • Establish and validate a working model
  • Establish innovative methods of measuring the effectiveness of the campaign
  • Validate global trends and themes
  • Create and design high impact creative content and campaigns
  • Consolidate research to identify cocaine’s impact on the region (supply chain)
  • Establish goals for future campaigns

The long-term goals are to:

  • Reduce cocaine use
  • Reduce drug abuse and overdose deaths
  • Change perceptions of cocaine and its ‘brand’
  • Disassociate Latin America from cocaine
  • Reduce the externalities of the drug economy
  • Establish economic, social, and cultural enhancers through strategic partners
  • Promote creative talent in Latin America
  • Develop a successful model for the ‘Debrand cocaine’ project that can be replicated elsewhere.

The pilot project in Colombia consists of three phases:

Research: divided into three different stages: existing research; research on perception, and audience profiling and analysis.

Production: Once the research phase was completed, a baseline was established for perceptions about cocaine and audience profiles were developed. The production included campaign concept design and production guidelines and rules.

Impact measurement and evaluation: measurement in the pilot project was based on the Theory of Change, where a fundamental long-term outcome or goal is established, and a process of intermediate outcomes is mapped out through causal relationships.

More Results
Debrand Cocaine Website published
Social Media Campaigns implemented in Colombia to debrand cocaine.
Beneficiary Countries
Jimena Kalawski
Chief, Demand Reduction Unit
Alfonso Abarca
José Luis Vazquez
Andrea Escobar
Senior Program Officer
Isabella Araújo
Senior Program Officer
María Virginia García
Program Officer
Strategic Partners