Creepy Golem-like parasites cling to the backs of teens in a series of darkly comedic PSAs from McCann Health. One digs through a girl’s locker, tossing away her books in desperate search of something. Another piggybacks onto a boy, crying out that he’s not going to make it—he’s going to die!
The zombie barnacles personify the nagging, controlling urges experienced by the school kids, who are consumed by their vaping habits. The campaign, for the Beverly, Massachusetts-based nonprofit the Evelyn Lilly Lutz Foundation, is the first work created by the agency under the leadership of Matt Eastwood, the former JWT Global CCO who stepped into the same role at McCann Health in January.
The four films target 13-18 year-olds, with the aim to get them to stop, or never even begin, vaping. Running on social media for a year, they were directed by Bjorn Ruhmann via Smuggler.
“The rise in teen vaping is a crisis we have to address now. As a pediatrician, these are not just statistics to my colleagues and me, they represent the future lives and health of our youth and our community,” said Suzanne Graves, MD, president of the Evelyn Lilly Lutz Foundation in a statement. “We knew that we needed something different, something bold, to reach young people in a way that resonated.”
According to a FDA survey on U.S. youth and tobacco, the number of young people who smoke e-cigarettes doubled to 3.6 million in 2018, compared to the previous year. The campaign creators note that vaping health risks include potential nicotine addiction, exposure to potentially harmful chemical ingredients and the dangerous effects of nicotine on young people's developing brains.