Many top chefs make their dishes sing with signature, and often secret, ingredients. Perhaps it’s a hand-pressed olive oil or house-made cheese or a particular blend of spices that’s kept under wraps. For the host of Cookin’ with Molly, however, the special components of his recipe include meth, bath salts, and heroin.
Cookin’ with Molly, as you might have guessed, is not your run-of-the-mill food show. Instead, it’s a PSA from Toronto Crime Stoppers warning against the very serious dangers of “Molly” (aka MDMA), which has grown in prominence as a recreational party drug and is often considered by users as benign as marijuana. The problem is, it’s not. In fact, it can be deadly. This past summer in Toronto the death of two young people at the VELD Music Festival was linked to party drugs, and a recent police seizure of ecstasy pills in the city were found to include meth. These incidents, says Sean Sportun, vice chair of Toronto Crime Stoppers, is what prompted this particular campaign.
“We felt compelled to raise awareness about this issue to help make our communities safer,” says Sportun. “MDMA pills don’t come with a list of ingredients and since they can be cut with anything from LSD to caffeine, users can never be certain of what they are getting.”
Taking place in a dank drug lab that’s more Walter White than Jamie Oliver, Cookin’ with Molly, which was created by DDB Canada, Toronto and directed by Michael Downing of Partners Film, apes the up-beat, conversational and instructional construct of cooking shows while providing such an illicit ingredient list. Beyond MDMA, the primary bliss-inducing ingredient, the pills include: bath salts, that heinous designer drug made famous by a face-eating Florida man; methamphetamine, that highly addictive drug made famous by Breaking Bad; and heroin, that deadly, addictive drug with a swiftly laxative effect. That the drug-making chef adds in some artificial coloring, which in purebred culinary circles would be a serious gaffe, seems like the least offensive additive.
Anti-drug campaigns are notoriously difficult to make effective, largely because a combination of youthful hubris and party-time peer pressure stack the odds against recreational drug users making sensible decisions. By drawing on wildly popular cultural touchstones–Breaking Bad and notoriously pervasive cooking shows–and by taking a more informative versus prohibitive stance, Cookin’ with Molly ably demonstrates that within that goodtime-within-a-pill lies a whole bunch of hardcore drugs most people have no interest in dabbling in.
Sportun stresses that with this spot Toronto Crime Stoppers is in no way promoting or encouraging the use of Molly or any other illegal drugs and still encourages the community to report crimes. He says the “very unique approach” is intended to bring awareness to the oft-unknown dangers associated with this particular drug.
“[This campaign] is about changing the thought process of those who may choose to engage in this activity by focusing on the deadly cocktail ingredients that Molly can be created with,” Sportun says. “If it saves one life, then the campaign was a success.”