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Our 2009 campaign honed in on the insight that teens today have grown up in a time where corporate scandals are the norm and companies are forgiven. Since negative attitudes towards Big Tobacco are proven to be linked with reduced smoking rates, our latest campaign helped highlight why Big Tobacco doesn’t deserve to be forgiven like other companies. To illustrate this point to teens we asked them a simple question: Do you have what it takes to be a tobacco exec?.

Knowing that authenticity is paramount to teens, we filmed real interviews with a fake tobacco company recruiter so that we could capture real people’s reactions to some of the everyday decisions made by Big Tobacco Execs. We also gave teens the opportunity to be in the decision making seat so that they could experience for themselves what it was like to purposefully make decisions about selling a product that kills half of it’s customers when used as intended.


Our TV featured hidden camera interviews with a tobacco company ‘recruiter’ and real people’s real responses to questions like “how would you sell a product that killed half your customers?”. Our TV drove to our website where we brought the interview experience to life. Through a series of fun skill tests and entertaining polls, teens could find out for themselves if they had what it takes to work for Big Tobacco. We extended the campaign through online games and web components that put a fun twist on some traditional office tasks like speed typing sentences like “I could sell a product that kills someone every 6.5 seconds”. We also supported the campaign through male teen targeted print that took a more biological approach to what was necessary to be a Tobacco Exec.


Since teens have grown up knowing smoking is bad but they still smoke, getting them to simply think and then rethink about tobacco was our first challenge. We measured our success against this goal through building awareness of the brand. During the first three months of the campaign we saw a 3% lift in brand awareness, driving awareness up to 67%.In terms of engagement, our web properties out performed past campaigns. We’ve had over 1 million visitors to our online sites who spent on average nearly 4 and a half minutes engaging with our content.

While awareness and engagement are great, awareness of our campaign doesn’t take the cigarette out of teenagers hand. For behaviour change, our campaign needed to increase teen’s negative attitudes toward Big Tobacco. Research showed that after being exposed to our ads, two thirds of teens said that they had little bit or much more negative attitudes towards Big Tobacco.

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