CRISPIN WINS FLA. ANTI-CIG CAMPAIGN: STRATEGY IN $70 MIL EFFORT: FOMENT SMOKING REBELLION TO STATE'S YOUTH

By Published on .

[tallahassee] Alex Bogusky, partner and creative director of Crispin Porter & Bogusky, said he had a simple plan to conquer teen smoking in Florida: Let the kids take the lead.

The state's kids will be central to the guerrilla marketing effort -- with "Rage" as its theme -- the agency proposed last week to win the state's estimated $70 million anti-tobacco marketing account.

Under this strategy, kids will write and edit their own magazine. They'll log onto and lead chats on an Internet site called "Rage Online." And they'll be central characters in an aggressive TV advertising campaign that itself could lead to a public relations program to garner national media exposure.

`BIG TOBACCO' RAGE

The ads, which may or may not actually fly with the media, would feature youngsters "raging" against the companies -- from ad agencies to vending machine makers -- who serve "Big Tobacco."

"We want to get into a whole lot of trouble," said Mr. Bogusky, who noted that in being refused by the media, the campaign could trigger a national publicity bonanza.

"We're going to create a brand of rebellion that's at least as cool as Camel and Marlboro," Mr. Bogusky said.

The eight-person panel that heard the agency's pitch, along with those of Beber Silverstein & Partners, Miami, and Paradigm Communications, Tampa, included Jenny Lee, a 17-year-old student body president from nearby Leon High School. The panel gave unanimous approval to the plan.

The estimated $70 million in funding is part of $200 million set aside from the state's $11.3 billion settlement with the tobacco industry for anti-tobacco education.

The appropriation, from the state Legislature, provides for an 18-month campaign. Depending upon the success of the Crispin Porter effort, the program could be continued.

4 DISTINCT PROGRAMS

The Coconut Grove, Fla.-based shop's strategic plan includes separate programs for 7-to-9-year-olds; 10- and 11-year-olds; 12-to-17-year olds; and adults.

All three presenting agencies' campaign themes were designed to make anti-smoking as ubiquitous as smoking, without coming across as a branded message telling kids not to smoke -- "stealth marketing," as an executive with Beber Silverstein called it.

Mr. Bogusky said he wanted to tag the tobacco industry as the "adult institution to rebel against."

In one proposed TV spot, a young girl in a ski mask stands before the camera reading a list of her anti-smoking demands, including warning labels on movies that feature actors smoking and a list of the 400-plus "poisons and carcinogens" in each cigarette. Another proposed commercial shows kids phoning executives with tobacco ad agencies or vending machine companies, asking if they feel any responsibility for their participation in youth smoking.

One print ad read: "Attn: Movie Industry. We're your best customers. So why are you trying to kill us?"

2-FOR-1 MEDIA PLAN

A promised 2-for-1 media buying plan proposed by media partner Carat could double the duration of the campaign, said Crispin Porter VP-Media Director Rich Rivera.

Other ancillary services will help drive home the campaign. Web site Rage Online will include hidden messages, pictures that kids themselves send in and games to download and share, said Brian Dorsey, an executive with Web site designer cow., which partnered with Crispin Porter for the pitch.

Only two weeks ago, during visits to the then-remaining contenders, executives at Crispin Porter were told by review panel members to beef up the ranks of their partners. So the agency added Gallup Organization; Porter Novelli, Washington, which handles PR for the White House anti-drug initiative; and ethnic marketing agencies Muse Cordero Chen, Los Angeles, and Del Rivero Messianu and Pantin Partnership, both Coral Gables.

CREATIVE `IDEA POOL'

Mr. Bogusky said his shop will strive to foster a creative "idea pool" that all will contribute to, and from which the best proposals will be drawn -- no matter the ethnicities.

Besides, he added, "kids are less sensitive to all this ethnic mix in talent than the adults are."

Once compensation negotiations are completed within the coming weeks, the campaign would likely be launched by April, executives said.

Gallup will survey youth opinions on smoking, and six and 12 months into the campaign will return to the field to gauge opinions.

In this article:
Most Popular