Butt Out

What we do always involves storytelling, whether we are creating a brand identity, mounting a capital campaign, or rendering a message in copy blocks and illustrations. Ego takes a back seat to purpose as we focus on connecting the arc of a story with the heart, mind, and in this case, conscience of our intended audience.
Our most recent chance to tell a story involves addressing tobacco marketing. What’s the story? Well, it’s pretty simple and gruesome, tobacco products are marketed to kids in stores, on screens, and on the streets. Our job is not just to tell that story, but to compel people to want to rewrite it.
Tracy Mills, Director of Research and Planning at Glens Falls Hospital, has been our client for several years. We asked her what it was like to work with us on health related initiatives; here’s her story.
One of the things that has become clear to us in this process is that as marketers and consumers, we have been woefully oblivious to the concentration of tobacco marketing that is, in fact, directed at kids. As we thought about how best to tell the story, it seemed appropriate to remind viewers how it felt to be a kid. We wanted to portray the realities of tobacco marketing in ways that would make denying the inappropriateness of it laughable.
The vehicle we chose to use rather than a brochure or billboard for the first chapter, was a View Master. These illustrations will be arranged in a loop that many of us remember fondly from our childhood. The images are not at all like the Disney stories one might expect, instead the frame fills with parallels for other harmful objects being displayed at eye level.
You’d never let a kid near a shelf of grenades, or a case of poison. Children don’t cuddle with dead rodents, or play with fire. Let’s treat tobacco products like the danger they are, and keep them away from boys and girls.
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