Battle Begins vs. Miss. Teen Tobacco Use
ATLANTA–The Partnership for a Healthy Mississippi is taking aim at curbing teen use of tobacco products with a statewide campaign breaking this week from Maris, West & Baker of Jackson, Miss.
The campaign has been preceded by a teaser television spot that shows two twentysomething men driving their black recreational vehicle to a dump station to clean out its waste tank. They tell viewers they will soon hit the road to spread the anti-tobacco gospel to teenagers, or in their words, “Clean out the crap.”
This week the eight TV spots that follow the initial commercial begin airing around the state. The series shows the same RV pair talking to teens about various facets of smoking and smokeless tobacco products, how tobacco companies lure kids into starting the habit, and teens sharing their feelings about being targeted.
In the “Cherry Chew” spot, the RV crew shows young people a tin of cherry-flavored bubblegum and a similarly packaged can of cherry-flavored smokeless tobacco. One teen is heard to ponder: “It makes you wonder what [tobacco companies] will think of next to get us to buy it.”
Subsequent ads show kids being presented clips from movies with characters that smoke, teen-oriented magazines incorporating cigarette ads, and apparel from tobacco companies aimed at their age group.
Each spot also includes a message like: “3,000 young people become regular smokers everyday. One-third will die from tobacco-related diseases.” Then comes the kicker: “You’re a target. Question it.”
The “Question it” RV of the ads is also touring the state, repeating its role from the commercials as well as distributing caps, T-shirts and other paraphernalia with the QI logo.
Campaign credits include creative director Eric Hughes, associate creative director and copywriter Marc Leffler, art director Kelsey Rickenbaker and director Stefan Van Bjorn.
Acting as a creative consultant on the project was Miami’s Crispin Porter & Bogusky, which handles Florida’s anti-smoking campaign. The Florida agency assisted Maris, West & Baker when it pitched the Partnership for a Healthy Mississippi business.
Both Mississippi and Florida finance advertising efforts through settlements reached with the major tobacco companies.