KSV Adds Vermont Anti-Smoking Assignment

Kelliher Samets Volk will attempt to curb smoking in Vermont and address misconceptions among youth in an upcoming anti-tobacco campaign for the Vermont Department of Health.

The agency added the $1.5 million account following a review. The three-year contract is funded through Vermont’s portion of the 1998 Master Settlement between big tobacco companies and states’ attorneys general.

The state has done some anti-smoking efforts in the past, but this will be its most comprehensive program and the first for Vermont funded through the settlement.

Efforts from KSV in Burling-ton, Vt., KSV will focus on several target groups, including children aged 10-13, teenagers 14-17 and pregnant women.

“It makes more sense over the long term to target the youth population before they start smoking,” said Tim Volk, president of the 45-person agency.

“We know that [Vermont] youth overestimates the prevalence of teenage smokers and that influences their smoking habits,” said Barbara Moeykens, of the VDH. “We want to give them the correct figure—only about 31 percent of [area] youth smoke.”

The agency will be talking with anti-smoking youth groups such as Our Voices X-posed in order to “bounce creative and public relations ideas off of them—then in the end it will be their peers that we’ll be communicating with,” Volk said. “We’re going to figure out why they smoke—[we want] to get into their heads and hearts before we do the work.”

Following a round of research into the motivations behind smoking, KSV will launch broadcast and print advertising, public relations and a grassroots campaign, Volk said. Efforts will break in May.

KSV also recently handled the media for ads promoting Vermont’s first Quit Line, which is run by the American Cancer Society out of Austin, Texas. Existing TV spots are being used to promote the service, which smokers can call to get confidential help.