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Special Project

Special Project
From the 14th Annual Shorty Awards

Whistleblower Campaign

Entered in Sports


The mission of the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) is to stand with athletes to champion their right to clean sport, inspire true and healthy sport, and promote the integrity of sport. USADA is the national anti-doping organization (NADO) in the United States for Olympic, Paralympic, Pan American, and Parapan American sport. The organization is charged with managing the anti-doping program, including in-competition and out-of-competition testing, results management processes, drug reference resources, and athlete education for all United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee (USOPC) recognized sport national governing bodies, their athletes, and events. USADA is also the administrator for the UFC Anti-Doping Program. Additionally, USADA contributes to the advancement of clean sport through scientific research and education and outreach initiatives focused on awareness and prevention.

While testing is a critical part of USADA’s effort to detect and deter doping, some of its most impactful cases have resulted from investigations launched because of tips provided by whistleblowers dedicated to protecting the integrity of their sport. For many athletes, however, it can be difficult to recognize suspect situations and understand the power just one person can have to dismantle a culture of doping. The Whistleblower Campaign was designed to help athletes both recognize potential doping behaviors and inspire them to report that information to USADA’s Play Clean Tip Center.

Strategy and Execution

In three videos, USADA depicted realistic doping situations to help athletes recognize potential doping behaviors and inspire them to share this information so that USADA can investigate the situation. We captured both basic and nuanced doping situations, which helped illustrate that every situation is different and that athletes don’t need to know everything before contacting USADA. Additionally, each video includes footage of the doping athlete beating the clean athlete in some form of competition to emphasize the unfair advantage that doping can provide. In the injection video, the athlete is also assisted by a coach, illustrating that doping is often facilitated by persons in power, which hurts both athletes and breed cultures of doping.

USADA produced the entire series of videos at a cost <$5k, including complete production and talent fees. We strive to produce high production-value content at minimal budgets given our role as a non-profit federal entity. Despite a low production budget, art direction played a significant role, as we planned for a low-key lighting style that conveys realistic and evocative dramatic overtones. This lighting style, combined with authentic and natural dialogue and dramatic soundtrack and effects elements, relays the seriousness and authenticity of situations that everyday athletes, both professional and amateur, may be faced with. 

'The videos were distributed using a multi-platform approach on YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn. Each video was shared organically and then we utilized paid support to expand the reach and views of each video. The video end cards include a call to action urging athletes to report doping to the Play Clean Tip Center, while reminding them that they don’t need every detail to report something suspicious. In the social posts for the campaign, we then reinforced the athlete’s power in the fight for clean sport and the ease of reporting.


The Whistleblower Campaign was designed to educate viewers about doping and inspire action toward reporting tips. Education was measured through video views and action was measured through link clinks to the Play Clean Tip Center. For education, our was goal to exceed the industry average of 31.9% for videos views, which we more than achieved with a 45% view rate. This success can be largely attributed to paid promotion on social since that was constructed as a video view campaign.

Our goal for links clicks was a 10% increase in traffic to the Play Clean Tip Center page from the previous quarter. Despite the small production and promotion budget, we similarly exceeded that goal with a 14% increase in unique views compared to the pervious period, as well as a 111% increase in unique visitors to the page compared to the previous year.

Performance Stats:


Video for Whistleblower Campaign

Entrant Company / Organization Name

United States Anti-Doping Agency


Entry Credits