Getting through to kids on a subject like the dangers of vaping is a tough one—what teenager wants have that conversation with their mom or dad? A new PSA from the American Lung Association and Ad Council acknowledges that, with a dad who resorts to a TikTok dance.
The campaign, created pro bono by Hill Holiday, sees the father invite his daughter to "do the #vapetalk" as a TikTok dance, after his initial efforts at having a chat about vaping are rebuffed. He enlists the help of dancer, social media influencer and anti-vaping activist Russell Horning, aka “The Backpack Kid,” who gained fame after his “Flossin” dance video went viral. Having set up a ring light, he tells his daughter he "needs to get it trending" and finally gets her attention.
The PSA is part of a broader campaign to raise awareness about the risks associated with youth vaping and help parents with kids aged 10-14 initiate important conversations with their kids to prevent their kids from starting. That comes after rates of e-cigarette use by teens increased 73% from 2016 to 2020. The campaign encourages parents to visit TalkAboutVaping.org for resources to empower parents to talk to their kids about vaping, such as a youth vaping “Get the Facts” page and Conversation Guide.
The campaign is running across broadcast, radio, digital, social, out-of-home and print. TikTok has committed to additional support of the campaign, and Meta has also committed to providing donated media space to reach parents.
"These new PSAs address the need for parents to educate themselves about the dangers of vaping in a way that feels relevant and timely,” said Michelle Hillman, chief campaign development officer of the Ad Council. “We know that stress and peer pressure are the main motivators for kids to start vaping. With the beginning of a new school year and a host of pressures youth are facing, we’re providing parents with critical resources and encouragement to have important conversations with their kids about vaping.”