Friday Buzz: How the Arcade Industry Helped Fight Drug Use

Collaboration between an association exec and his former employer produced a memorable icon of video game nostalgia. Here's how that happened. Also: why you might not be a good fit for managing a community.

Remember the “war on drugs” is a bit more controversial now than it was in the ’80s and ’90s, but one notable relic of the federal government’s messaging strategy can be seen just by stopping in at your local arcade.

And an association played a big role in making it happen.

The pop-culture website Inverse reports on how a relationship between Bob Fay, then the executive director of the American Amusement Machine Association, and his former employer led to arcade machines around the country displaying the phrase “Winners Don’t Use Drugs” throughout the 1990s.

Fay’s former employer? The FBI, of course. After meeting with Bob Davenport of the FBI’s Office of Public Affairs, Fay hatched an idea for an unlikely public messaging campaign.

“We were talking about my new career and how he had this emphasis on drug awareness,” Fay explained, “and I said, ‘Hey, I might be able to help you out. I’ve got thousands of video games that we could put a message on.”


The result was that, to this day, classic arcade games such as Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles feature an antidrug message from William Sessions, the head of the FBI from 1987 to 1993.

It’s unclear whether the result led to a decrease in drug use, but Fay and his FBI counterpart say that the resulting campaign was a winner within the FBI and helped give some validation to the arcade industry.

“From some of the feedback that we were getting from the video game industry and others in the drug awareness program, we felt that it was pretty successful,” Davenport said.

Matters of Engagement

Are You an Engager or a Danger to Your Online Community? – http://t.co/g4IkbutwzK #assnchat

— MemberClicks (@MemberClicks) August 21, 2015

“If you’re not engaging your members, you are a danger to the success of your community.”

Those are some tough words from Christina R. Green, a writer on the MemberClicks blog, but she has a point.

Her latest post notes that people who manage an online community must use their skills to help lift that community up and strengthen it. Ultimately, you may be a bad fit for such a role if you don’t enjoy the interaction that comes with the task.

“A good engager makes a world of difference in an association’s online community,” she writes. “But the other side is true as well. A community manager who dislikes his/her role as an engager is a danger to the community.” (ht @MemberClicks)

Other Links of Note

If you’re an iPhone owner and would like to experience what it’s like on the other side of the mobile coin, a new Samsung program will make that possible. If you have an iPhone and a dollar, the Android maker will let you test-drive one of their newest Galaxy phones for up to 30 days.

Get nervous talking to a crowd? Don’t fret. Former FBI agent Joe Navarro tells Business Insider that transparency is the key to beating the anxiety. Yes, admit to the audience that you’re anxious.

Don’t forget to write thank-you notes, writes SCD Group’s Steve Drake. They often work as big motivators.


Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is a former senior editor for Associations Now. MORE

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