Pressure With a Twist

BBDO puts a twist on peer pressure among teens in its latest anti-smoking work for the New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services.

The Minneapolis shop this week breaks two TV spots that target teens. One commercial shows a youth pressuring a peer to perform what at first would seem to be an illicit act of some sort. “It’s not going to kill you,” the teen says. “I already did it twice today.” He defends his position, saying 22 million others are with him, before he gets to the twist: “Any one of them will tell you how good it feels to stand up to Big Tobacco.”

Another spot shows a girl at a party telling a friend that “she did it,” and it “felt good” standing up to tobacco companies. The work keeps the shop’s tagline, “Not for sale.”

The agency’s previous anti-smoking ads featured teens’ voiceovers saying they were not “dumb,” and they “knew what was going on” with tobacco companies’ marketing efforts. The new work is meant to build on that, said Karn Knutson, a creative director at the shop. “We’ve been building this idea of self-esteem … but there’s still this power of peer pressure,” Knutson said. “We thought it was a natural progression.”

The campaign, which also will include radio, outdoor and Web components, will run in New York, New Jersey and Philadelphia markets. BBDO in Minneapolis won the $5 million account in late 2000 with the “Not for sale” approach, which was developed during the shop’s failed pitch for Minnesota’s $7 million anti-smoking account.