Graphic advertisements showing the unpleasant results of methamphetamine addiction are saturating Montana television, reports the New York Times. The spots are part of the Montana Meth Project, a campaign paid for by Thomas M. Siebel, a software billionaire and part-time resident. Starting in September, the project has become the biggest advertiser in the state, blanketing radio, television, newspapers and billboards with advertisements so raw that officials asked that they be removed from television before 7 p.m.
With other states expressing interest in the campaign, Siebel and state officials want to make it a national template for halting a problem that has cursed many largely poor, rural states. The ads have inspired poems and raps. High school groups have replayed them in place of morning announcements and devoted newspaper issues to them. “People are talking about this like I’ve never seen anything in our state,” said Attorney General Mike McGrath, whose office was flooded with calls, pro and con, demanding to know who was behind the ads. “When they first came out, I couldn’t walk anywhere without someone asking about it.” Said Gov. Brian Schweitzer: “This isn’t just a few ads. If this thing works, it can be a template all over rural America.”