Anti-Smoking Campaign Appeals to Vanity

Nicomarket Creates Ads for 'Beauty' Products That Mimic Damage From Smoking

Published on .

Brand: Nicomarket
Brand Owner: Nicomarket
Category: Pharmaceuticals/Health care
Region: Europe
Date: October 2007 to November 2007
Media Agency: Carat, Isobar
Media Channels: Mobile, internet

Nicomarket, a European anti-smoking campaign, sought a new method of dissuading its target youth audience from smoking, beyond the usual scare tactics such as highlighting death statistics. The biggest challenge was fulfilling its intentions for visibility and effect in 27 European markets, on a relatively tiny budget of €500,000.
A parody ad for 'Nicoteeth' toothpaste, which will brown those unsightly white teeth.
A parody ad for 'Nicoteeth' toothpaste, which will brown those unsightly white teeth.

The insight was that members of the target audience, aged 16-24, were very product-, brand- and image-aware, and particularly concerned with personal appearance. Nicomarket used this knowledge to launch a viral campaign inspired by health and beauty advertising, promoting products that promise to deliver benefits or enhancements to one's appearance. However, Nicomarket reversed this convention by creating promo spots for spoof products that actually produced alarming physical effects, specifically the unattractive side effects of smoking.

Products included "Nicovox," a tar-based oral spray imparting an instant gravelly voice; "Nicoteeth" browning toothpaste, to cure unsightly white teeth; and "Nicoclean" skin moisturizer with tobacco extracts that age you 10 years with each application.

A Nicomarket microsite was created to "sell" the parody products, seeded on 150 video portals and blogs in the five core European markets. Other high-affinity sites were utilized in the 22 remaining EU states, including MTV, MSN and Yahoo!

In making purchases and proceeding to "checkout," users were redirected to a help site where they received advice and guidance on quitting smoking. They were also invited to forward the spoof video spots explaining the products' uses and usage instructions to their friends.

A total of 300,000 people visited the Nicomarket site, with 58,000 placing "orders" for the products and 40,000 forwarding the videos to their friends. About 3.5 million video views were recorded by the campaign's end.

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Cream is a U.K.-based magazine owned by C Squared Communications aimed at highlighting the best in creative media worldwide. All media ideas are part of C Squared's Creative Media Database.
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