Some observers credit the group's evangelical fervor. As one veteran of Madison Avenue puts it, "They don't just 'win' believers, they convert them with arm-twisting and the best manipulative powers in Manhattan."
If some of the Partnership's work is painful to watch, if some of it is too real, too sad or too scary, all the better, say the pros. "If we're twisting arms, if we refuse to ever go second class, if we manipulate emotions, well, we're doing it for angels," says a Partnership executive.
Here's Lenny on the screen, a heroin addict showing the camera a sore oozing pus on his left thigh.
Here is Ashley, an addict enlisted for an ad to deglamorize drugs. As the haggard face speaks groggily about her habit, pictures of Ashley as the fresh-faced president of her senior class and eight years later as the glamorous art director of a big advertising agency flash across the screen. Ashley is only 28, Steedman says, but she looks decades older.
"We were sitting at lunch with her one day," Steedman recalls, "and she was talking about what drugs had done to her life and then all of a sudden, she just reached into her mouth and pulled out her [false] teeth. All the years of abuse had caused her teeth to fall out. It was, let's just say, it was a very dramatic scene and, the moment we saw it, we knew we wanted to share it."