"The Real Cost"

Ten million teens in the U.S. are either experimenting with smoking or thinking about it. In fact, each day nearly 2,500 youth under age 18 try their first cigarette.

Before running in market, the FDA tests ads with thousands of at-risk youth across the country for message effectiveness, comprehension, and potential unintended consequences. The process is arduous, yet it was the most rewarding 18 months of my advertising career. Because just 7 months after The Real Cost launch, there was a 30 percent decrease in the risk for smoking initiation, preventing an estimated 350,000 teens from smoking.

Being peer-pressured to smoke is a harsh and prevalent reality that thousands of teens face daily. With that in mind, we set out to create a humorous campaign that faced it head-on and encouraged the notion that, with so many disgusting consequences, really any reason is actually a brilliant reason not to smoke.

TV spot created in collaboration with Megan Williams

TV spot created in collaboration with Megan Williams

When asked to share their #ReasonsNotToSmoke, thousands participated and the result was a massive user-generated arsenal of things teens could say when pressured with a cigarette.

Here's how it came to life in radio on Spotify, Pandora and more.

Young adults responded so well to the use of humor, that Comedy Central ran with the idea and created a series of custom co-branded spots, showcasing their comics as they reveal their silly, yet legitimate reasons why they don’t smoke. These spots were pushed out on multiple platforms & screens across Comedy Central.

The spots featured comedians Nate Bargatze, Tone Bell, Nore Davis, Casey Jost & Veronica Osorio, as they share their personal reasons they don’t smoke, allowing FDA’s message to resonate in a truly authentic & impactful way. Short-form one-liner spots tweeted out by Comedy Central’s Stand Up handle reached over 63k followers.