In 1997, a young Rachael Leigh Cook used an egg and a frying pan to show the world what heroin does to the human brain. “This is your brain on drugs,” she said, before crushing said egg with said pan. It We don’t know how effective the anti-drug commercial was, if it actually prevented anyone from using actual drugs. But the metaphor and the imagery were powerful and immediate, and Cook—with her too-cool delivery that mutates into raw fury as she destroys the entire kitchen―sells it. The ad became iconic.
So now, 20 years later, a 37-year-old Cook is back with an update on the original spot, only this time, it’s against the War on Drugs. In the new ad, from Green Point Creative, Cook shows us a white egg, and says it represents the millions of Americans who use drugs but never get arrested. Then, she takes out a brown egg. “This American is several times more likely to be charged with a drug crime.” She then narrates an animated sequence that is childishly drawn, but devastating in the story that it tells, literally illustrating the far-reaching consequences a drug conviction can have on the lives of people of color.
“The war on drugs is ruining people’s lives,” Cook says towards the end. “It fuels mass incarceration, it targets people of color in greater numbers than their white counterparts. It cripples communities, it costs billions, and it doesn’t work.” Then, invoking the famous ending of the original ad, she asks: “Any questions?”
Watch it above, and the original below.