Cannes Lions

Butting In: Disrupting The Teen Tobacco Stream

FCB HEALTH, New York / FDA / 2016

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Creative Idea: Butting In

We developed Tumblr content that presented a smoking prevention message in an entirely new way. Instead of just creating content and hoping it would be found, we used tags associated with content that glamorized cigarettes and married our content to those streams.

We scoured Tumblr to identify trending conversation streams that depicted smoking in a glamorous or sensual way. We located those conversations or streams we thought would have the most negative impact on at-risk teens. We studied tag after tag and eventually found those streams that put cigarettes in the most positive light. Some examples we found included #SexySmokers, #NailsandCigarettes, #FlowersandCigarettes, just to name a few.

The result: Not only did we insert ourselves into these conversations in an unexpected way; we became a voice of opposition to the glamorization of cigarettes.


Our content was fresh, unexpected, and, best of all, it got the message across. Here are some examples of what you will see:

• "Smell Flowers": Smoke may look beautiful in pictures, but we know that the smell of smoke is not pleasant at all. We countered cigarette smoke imagery with something that smells much better – flowers.

• "Replacing Cigarettes": There are many iconic images of smokers. Think of old James Bond or Marilyn Monroe photos. To make these types of images look ridiculous, we removed the most important part – the cigarette.

• "Hey Girl": We think Ryan Gosling would be proud. We joined the popular meme with our own (smoke-free) version of a pickup line.

• "Nail Art": We know that our audience loves to use selfies to show off their latest looks. Nail art, in particular, tends to be a favorite. Yeah, we had one of those, too.


This was the first time we used this approach to reach our audience, and it seems to have made waves. We did a pre/post comparison around the launch date and found that:

• Our monthly engagement rate shot up. The average rate after the campaign launched was 20 times greater than prior to launch.

• Best of all, these engagements drove visitors to our Tumblr page. Our average monthly page views skyrocketed by nearly 100,000.

• Monthly average engagements with our Tumblr page went from 47.7K before launch to 90.25K after – nearly doubling.

The best thing about these numbers is that they are telling us that we are making a difference. Because for every second that an at-risk teen is engaging with — or even sharing — our content, that’s less time they are exposed to the stuff the other guys are putting out there.

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