CA Tobacco Control Program

Expose the tobacco industry’s use of flavored tobacco products
to attract young consumers

Background

After years of public health education about the dangers of cigarettes, tobacco companies are retaliating by pushing forward new products that don’t look, feel, smell, or taste like traditional cigarettes, but have the same (or worse) negative health effects.

Rather than being a replacement to cigarettes, new tobacco products (e.g. vaporizer and flavored e-cigarettes) encourage dual use amongst current smokers and, through the use of flavor particularly, are designed to attract new users. With dramatic results, they are addicting an entirely new and vulnerable generation, including low-income minorities, Asian teenagers, and young adults.

Challenge

Studies show that Asian parents have lower awareness and knowledge of all the new e-cigs available in the market.

While there are currently more than 15,500 tobacco flavors in the market, our challenge was that people weren't 'seeing' the threat. Along with flavored tobacco smelling and tasting nothing like traditional tobacco, it’s designed to look nothing like it as well(e.g. candy, popcorn, bubble tea, breakfast cereal etc.)

It is critical that the campaign not only educates Asian teens about flavored e-cigs, but also elicits a sense of urgency for Asian parents to protect their children.

Solution

Together with the California Tobacco Control Program (CTCP), we helped develop the ‘Flavor Campaign’ to get people to see the flavored tobacco products as a threat. Our objective was ensuring our key audiences, Californian Asian parentsand change makers, were exposed to the campaign and that they were provoked into thinking more critically about flavored tobacco.

In creative execution, we show how kids experience flavors, and how tobacco companies incorporate it. Along with flavored tobacco smelling and tasting nothing like traditional tobacco, it’s designed to look nothing like it as well (e.g. candy, popcorn, bubble tea, breakfast cereal etc.). The goal is to expose the tobacco industry’s usage of flavored tobacco products to attract and addict young consumers.

Our campaign aims at telling Asian parents and change makers awareof the flavor scam: 1) get them fired up; 2) educate them; 3) drive them to FlavorsHookKids.Org; 4) enlist/notify others.

Scope of Campaign

OOH (Lenticular Poster)

HL: The tobacco industry studies kids to create  products just for them.
SH1: Yummy Watermelon Lollipop
SH2: Watermelon Flavored Toxic Nicotine

OOH/ Print

HL: Kids love the flavor of strawberry.
The tobacco industry paid attention.
Copy: 4 out of 5 kids who have used tobacco started with a flavored product.

Website:Korean & Chinese

Results

The results include extremely strong campaign recall after the first 10 weeks of advertising (65% recall seeing the campaign), and achieved new conventional wisdoms:

1) Perceptions shifts: attitudes towards e-cigs, flavored tobacco products, and the tobacco industry

  • Agree that the tobacco industry targets youth as new customers: 21%
  • Agree that tobacco companies make e-cigs as a way to hook teenagers on nicotine: 21%
  • Agree that e-cigs come in thousands of flavors: 30%
  • Agree that the marketing practices of the tobacco industry are deceptive: 21%
  • Believe e-cigs are more socially acceptable than regular cigs: 26%
  • Believe that e-cigs are healthier alternative to regular cigs: 24%
  • Believe that e-cigs are just harmless water vapor: 26%

2) General ad awareness

  • Saw e-cig brand ad in the past 3 months (online, social media): 39%
  • Saw anti e-cig PSA in the past 3 months (online, social media): 29%

3) Perceptions for past and future legislative actions against flavored tobacco:

  • Will participate in future legislation to regulate flavored e-cigs: 14%
  • Will participate in future legislation to ban/restrict sale of flavored tobacco: 19%