GSD&M: There’s Something About Maryquits.com

NEW YORK “If you were asked to face one of the most important challenges of your life in front of millions of people knowing the odds are against you, would you do it?”

So reads copy in a TV spot seeking to drive viewers online to www.maryquits.com. The ad is part of a new $18 million campaign for the American Legacy Foundation created by GSD&M in Austin, Texas. Two TV spots and a radio ad drive viewers to the Web site, which chronicles how Mary, actually Tanya Guess, 26, an organizational manager in Washington, tries to quit smoking.

The campaign is a companion effort to bobquits.com, which broke in June and showed vignettes each day for four weeks of a New Yorker trying to quit smoking. Maryquits.com will follow the same structure. The TV spots and site vignettes will begin appearing on Monday.

“We weren’t really trying to do anything different [from bobquits.com], other than show a female side of things,” said Chris Cullen, executive vice president for marketing and communications at the American Legacy Foundation. Guess’ struggle in the vignettes has added resonance because it was real and unscripted, he added.

“You watch her go through it and you want to reach into the TV and help, but you know she’s got to do it herself really,” he said.

Real-person casting agent Martha Wollner found Guess. Client and agency creatives liked the fact that she was so determined to quit.

“She was desperate to quit, but she didn’t know how,” said David Crawford, svp, group creative director at GSD&M. “She had major events in her life coming up: she was engaged to be married, her job was moving locations. There was a lot of pressure, and she was ready to do it.”

The shoot, which took place over 28 days in August, was a lot of work, according to Crawford. “It was 28 straight days, there were no weekends off,” he said. “Every day unfolds like a regular shoot.”

Vignettes show Mary determined to quit despite what she terms “slip-ups.” They follow her as she joins a gym and goes to work without smoking.

Randall Einhorn, who has been a cinematographer for the reality TV series Survivor, directed the campaign. In addition to Crawford, Luke Sullivan was svp, group creative director. Joan Lyons served as copywriter and art director. Sarah Lassiter also wrote copy, and Lori Hudson provided art direction.