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Anti-smoking ads speak to youth in their language

Anti-smoking ads speak to youth in their language

And that language is “fart jokes” — which are, ironically, the oldest form of humour known to man:

This campaign for the Department of Health and Wellness in the Province of Nova Scotia, Canada, certainly scores points for realism. And it gets an interesting point across: have you tried to “get a light” lately? With only about 15% of Canadian teens still smoking tobacco, it’s going to get harder and harder. (Unless your friends also happen to be among the 25% of Canadian youth who smoke pot.)


The second ad in the series is also pretty realist, with a bunch of dudes trying to light an epic rocket in their suburban backyard:

The campaign site,, is pretty smart as well. Instead of preaching at the kids with tales of cancer and social disapproval, they host a collaborative forum of YouTube links about other things that have gone from popularity to “suckitude”:

“Sooner or later, everything begins to suck. Bands, TV shows, clothes. It’s a universal law that nothing stays cool forever. As teen smoking’s popularity continues to drop, so too does the popularity of other things. This is where we celebrate their suckitude.”

Their wall includes embedded videos of Paris Hilton, The Spice Girls, Pajama Jeans, U2 and parody memes. The actual campaign resources are on links to the side.

While I am always skeptical of how effective any campaign can be to get kids to stop experimenting with sex and drugs, this is one of the smartest efforts I’ve seen. It actually seems relatively in touch with Generation Jackass, while at the same time following the current social marketing trend towards normalization of positive behaviours. If you can call that normal…

(Thanks to Adrants for the tip.)

15 and Falling (Campaign)
Extreme Group (Halifax)
Marketing Magazine

I am Creative Director at Acart Communications, a Canadian Social Issues Marketing agency. Read more