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Shortly before the Tobacco Master Settlement agreement, we were hired to prevent the initiation of youth tobacco consumption via a public health-funded mass media campaign targeting youth.


decrease of tobacco consumption
among youth ages 12-18 in three years.


Youth tobacco prevalence had reached an all time high of 27.5%, and the average age of initiation was 12.3 years. Youth were becoming addicted at an increasingly younger age.


Leveraging Erikson’s Psychosocial Stages, our research revealed adolescent youth (12-18 years of age) struggle with identity vs confusion. They experiment with multiple identities and associated personality characteristics as they pursue adulthood. 


Our own research revealed that a non-smoking identity did not exist. Kids needed an alternative to “The Marlboro Man” and “Joe Camel”.


We created a non-tobacco brand with a persona to give youth a new and enlightened character, attitude and image to sample, with the battle cry of “Tobacco. Tumor Causing, Teeth Staining, Smelly, Puking Habit.” Creative messages leveraged graphically intense, often gross and humorous visuals to create awareness. The more graphic and gross, the more they were talked about.


55% of youth credited the campaign for why they decided to quit using tobacco. 77.2% seriously thought about quitting. 73.6% cut down on their tobacco use. Though not intended, adult tobacco prevalence dropped by 21% points during the same timeframe. The campaign was licensed via the National Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) to more than 38 states and Canada.