Why Bayer Recruited 1,800 People Named Smith From Fort Smith, Ark., for Its New Campaign

Meet the HeroSmiths

First aid for a heart attack includes chewing aspirin—a fact Bayer is leveraging in a new campaign to get more people to carry the pills, just in case someone nearby needs them.

But rather than focus on a traditional demographic, the marketer and Energy BBDO are targeting an unusually particular, if broad, group of consumers—people with the last name Smith.

To that end, Bayer went to Fort Smith, Ark., a city with a high rate of heart attacks, and a high concentration of people with the name Smith. There, it gave 1,800 residents named Smith each a kit containing potentially life-saving aspirin.

Titled “HeroSmiths,” it’s a psychologically savvy tack—a sales pitch coated in everyman-style good Samaritanism. The name Smith is common, but it’s also symbolic—easy for many other Americans to identify with, even those with other names. And everybody wants to be a hero, especially to their neighbors.

A promo video basically makes this point by showing a parade of happy Smiths. And the science of the argument is real. Aspirin can reduce platelets in the bloodstream, helping to stop a clot from forming. It just so happens that a lot of people carrying aspirin is good for Bayer’s bottom line, too.

Client: Bayer Aspirin
Title: “HeroSmith”

Agency: Energy BBDO
Chief Creative Officer: Andrés Ordóñez
Executive Creative Director: Alistair Robertson
Creative Directors: Josh Gross and Pedro Pérez
Associate Creative Directors: Agustin Ballerio, Alejandro Juli, Fernando Passos
Art Director: Chris Cavalieri
Lead Designer: Hung Vinh

Head of Integrated Production: Rowley Samuel
Executive Director of Content & Delivery: Brian Cooper
Executive Producer: Jeff Drooger
Senior Integrated Producer: Elena Robinson
Director of Music: Daniel Kuypers
Associate Music Producer: Nick Maker

Global Client Service Director: David Goring-Morris
Client Service Director: Katie Clow
Account Director: Trish von Rein
Account Executive: Kristen Schumacker

Group Planning Director: Catrina McAuliffe
Planning Director: Brian Stout
Senior Planner: Jesse Unger

Production Company: Maverick NYC
Director: David Garcia
Executive Producer: Brad Johns

Editorial Company: Flare
Executive Producer: Mitch Monzon
Editors: Sean Berringer, Jill Dugan, Casey Cobler

Digital Agency: iCrossing
Senior Account Director: Al DeDona
Senior Strategy Director: Catherine Mevs
Account Manager: Amanda Neil

Media Agency: MediaCom
Communications Planning Director: Matthew Gunther
Strategy Director: Charlie Singer
Director, Paid Social: Aaron Welch

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@GabrielBeltrone gabriel.beltrone@gmail.com Gabriel Beltrone is a frequent contributor to Adweek.