A teenage couple sitting at a coffee shop doing their homework.

Selling product avoidance to teens

Many teenagers consider e-cigarettes as a harmless alternative to smoking. To convince them otherwise, the Cancer Society of Finland reached out for our help.

When it comes to products and services, marketing is fairly straightforward. All you have to do is come up with a set of appealing benefits and an effective way of getting them across. However, trying to convince people – and especially teens – that they should steer clear of a certain product? Well, that’s a whole different ball game.

Behind the scenes

About a year ago, we helped our long-time client the Cancer Society of Finland design Fressis.fi, a mobile-first digital media that publishes health-related content to teenagers. Fressis.fi was launched in the fall of 2016, and along with the launch came the need to drive traffic to the brand new service. Around the same time, e-cigarettes were starting to gain traction among Finnish teens.

That brings us to a crispy Wednesday afternoon in October, when we sat down to brainstorm ideas for a campaign aiming to raise awareness about the health hazards associated with e-cigarette use among 15 to 17-year-olds. Considering the slow but steady inflation of scientific research, we knew instantly that it would take more than a 60-second infomercial to convince our Gen Z audience to shake the bad habit.

As the medical research we were trying to pass on was fairly complex in nature, we decided to break it down to eight multiple choice questions, which we then moulded into an interactive quiz hosted on Fressis.fi. But that was really the easy part.

Next, we needed to come up with a hook – a way of getting the target audience interested in the facts. Thus, a 3-part video series was born in close collaboration with the client and our amazingly talented friends at video production agency Cocoa. Each 30-second mini-episode raises a question about the consequences of using e-cigarettes and thus begs the viewer to take the quiz and find out the real answer.

Lights, camera, action!

The campaign itself consisted of three 9-day-long phases, each dedicated to promoting one of the videos to a highly targeted audience on Facebook, Instagram and YouTube. And the rest? Well, that’s history.

In just 27 days, the videos reached more than 100,000 Finnish teenagers and garnered 18,000+ unique visitors to Fressis.fi’s e-cigarette channel. With over 1.8 million impressions in total, the video series managed to evoke the curiosity of more than 7,000 teens, who spent an average of 2 minutes and 24 seconds taking the informative quiz.

And the videos? Watch them to find out.