THEY KNOW TEEN ANGST

Experience gained from telling young audiences about the evils of tobacco use has given Maris, West & Baker a leg up in another product category.

The Jackson, Miss., shop, which handles the state’s anti-tobacco account, is using its marketing expertise with youth to tout a new acne treatment gel called Zapzyt.

Print ads running in Cosmo Girl, Twist and Seventeen magazines feature a tube of Zapzyt with copy written by Marc Leffler, Randy Lynn and Eric Hughes “for those of us who didn’t hit the genetic jackpot.”

Three 15-second television spots, dubbed “Webcam Theater,” appear to be self-made commercials created on the home computers of pimple-plagued teenagers.

In one spot, a boy handling his pet snake close to the camera lens recites, “Snakes shed their skin 15 times over their lifetime. One reason why they never get zits.” A voiceover follows, “Lucky snakes.”

The spots are airing on MTV, TBS and other cable networks.