There are entire awareness weeks dedicated to educating young people about the health hazards of tobacco. By now, you would hope any teen could tell you that smoking and dipping is bad for you. But are the common tactics, like warning about mouth and lung cancer, seen in today’s anti-tobacco campaigns the most relevant way to get students to say no to tobacco? Why do some teens still choose to participate in something they know can harm them?
According to a 2018 report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly 6 of every 100 high school students said they had used smokeless tobacco (dip) in the last 30 days.
As an agency, we agreed that there’s more work to be done to highlight the dangers of tobacco, but through a more focused lens. That’s why we dedicated our pro bono efforts to creating a campaign about one of the surprising risks of dipping.
The question was clear to us: What would convince these students to quit? First, we needed a hook.
One study published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine concludes, “Isolated nicotine can significantly attenuate physiological sexual arousal in healthy, nonsmoking men.”
Allow me to translate: Tobacco can cause erectile dysfunction.
I should also mention that the Mayo Clinic has reported that people who dip tend to do it more frequently than those who smoke cigarettes, exposing them to higher levels of nicotine. This means that those who chew tobacco may be more likely to experience erectile disfunction than those who smoke cigarettes.
From these insights, a song and animation were born, informing high school males who dip that there’s more at stake than the future health risks they’ve heard about before. We call it “Can’t Get it Up,” and you can watch it now at NoDipYall.com.
The story follows the life of a high school jock who thinks he’s a real hotshot. The rest of the school seems to think so too, until they learn his dipping habit is affecting his ability to, well, “get it up.”
Seriously, what guy — especially a high school football player — wants to find out his extracurricular activities are interrupting his sexual performance and ruining his reputation? What a downer.
While the song and animation serve to bring awareness to a lesser-known side effect of dipping, our goal wasn’t to scare dippers straight. In reality, quitting an addictive substance takes a lot of support. That’s why we created the campaign as a warning and hosted it on its own webpage where we could encourage people to take practical steps to quit dipping.
After watching the video, viewers are prompted to choose the character who they most relate to from the story. Then, they can find additional information that might be relevant to helping themselves or a loved one get the support they need to live tobacco-free.
Are traditional conversations around the dangers of tobacco still relevant? Absolutely. But by introducing new insights about sensitive areas via stimulating formats, we can help teens reconsider that next pinch or drag.
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