How do you teach rural, white tween boys about the dangers of dip?

Try a digital, social and experiential concept that doesn’t talk about quitting smokeless tobacco.

It’s selling candy.

  • Role ACD, Copywriter
  • For FDA “The Real Cost” Rural Smokeless Campaign
  • Type Digital, Social, Experiential

These unique sweets give you a nice little “buzz,” but help keep you focused. Like Red Bull crossed with Sweet Tarts. They’re so good, they’re addictive.

Side effects sound familiar?

They feature all the flavors used in dip tobacco…

Wintergreen, Spearmint, Citrus, Apple, Cherry, Grape, Peach, Cinnamon and Vanilla

Campaign creates demand for Tom Tuggers, as if they were a real product, with a multi-platform product launch driving rural tweens to website for free samples by mail. (Not yet available in stores!)

Pre-populate Tom Tugger Facebook, Instagram and YouTube pages with raves from “users”…

"Look at the crazy sh*t I can do Tom Tuggers!"

Deploy passive experiential product placement. Leave empty Tom Tugger containers (URL displayed on label) “discarded” at rural youth events, county fairs, rodeos, stadiums, sports venues, etc. Even sponsor rural events…

Drive product curiosity and website traffic.

“Hey, where do we get these Tom Tuggers?”

“Oh, they ran out. But you can go to the website to get them mailed to you.”

Launch a separate decoy site (or Wikipedia page), documenting the genus of the “key” stimulant ingredient—“Borogove”* extract. For curious tweens and teens inclined to investigate…

*(Apologies to Lewis Carroll.)

"A scrambling, multicolored floral shrub native to the Amazon basin and especially common in Brazil. Climbing over other plants to a height of 7-9 m, with stout stems with thorns, Borogova Multiflora features large leaves and clusters of flowers and is generally considered an invasive species. The flavor derived from its flower is highly valued for its pure, delicate spice, and its complex floral aroma. As a dietary supplement, the borogove flower is also an effective stimulant. As a result, it is used in the manufacture of energy food and aromatherapy. In rain forest environments, this shrub is considered excellent fodder for jaguars…"

Meanwhile, visitors to Tom Tugger website get a health advisory message:

  • Candies can stain your teeth and give you bad breath.
  • You may be more likely to get cavities if you eat them.
  • They also put you at risk of developing lesions inside your mouth that can lead to cancer.
  • They’re known to be a human carcinogen and have been shown to cause cancer.
  • People who use them are more likely than non-users to get cancer in their cheeks and gums.

“If you accept the terms of this offer, click here.”

Clicking reveals a focus group video of real kids from rural communities sampling (placebo) Tom Tugger candies, and hearing the same advisory risks from a moderator. We see their reactions. Will they or won’t they try it…?

“If you wouldn’t eat a candy with those effects, why use dip?”

We then reveal the truth about smokeless tobacco’s health effects, addictive qualities and harmful ingredients.

And we prompt website users to spread the experience socially…