• 05.17.12

“Cocaine Unwrapped” Promo Films Shows The Horror Behind That Line

The campaign for documentary Cocaine Unwrapped is centered around two short films that make visual metaphors out of harsh statistics.

“Cocaine Unwrapped” Promo Films Shows The Horror Behind That Line

If you want to make an impact with a message about drugs, stone cold statistics won’t do the trick. U.K. studio Dartmouth Films and Leo Burnett are hoping that visceral, provocative imagery will bring the statistics to life as the two partner to promote a new documentary about the human toll of the international drug trade.


Director Rachel Seifert’s revealing documentary Cocaine Unwrapped takes viewers through all aspects of the cocaine trade, including the international distribution of the drug as well as the money that fuels it. Rather than release straight-up trailers, however, Dartmouth Films collaborated with agency Leo Burnett and London-based production house Stink to create a campaign centered around two short standalone pieces.

Director Tomek Baginski’s contribution, The Machine, uses intense computer-animation to show people being plucked off of the street by giant claws, and tossed into a machine that literally turns them into cocaine–an effective metaphor for the carnage perpetuated in order to keep the drug trade “assembly line”-steady.

Rohan Blair-Mangat’s piece, “One Line One Life” is a live-action race to stop a couple of teens from snorting lines in a bedroom. The more of the drug they do, however, the more people racing to stop them are felled–a karmic consequence mirrored by statistics.

Cocaine Unwrapped is playing now in theaters in the UK. To provide some context for the films, check out the numbing stats from the film’s producers below:

  • In Juarez, Mexico, around 15 people a day are executed as part of the cocaine drug chain.

  • The Global Cocaine Trade is worth over $85 billion per annum. It is bigger business than Microsoft, Pfizer, Unilever and Boeing.

  • In the last 5 years, there have been 40,000 deaths in Mexico related to the drugs trade. A large proportion of which are children.

  • For every line of cocaine snorted in the UK, one innocent life is lost in South America.

About the author

Joe Berkowitz is a writer and staff editor at Fast Company. His next book, Away with Words, is available June 13th from Harper Perennial.