Quitting smoking isn’t just hard—it’s really, really hard. While nearly 65% of smokers reported trying to quit three or more times, only 28% said they still felt motivated during their last attempt, and only 18% felt confident that they could quit. For the nearly 34.4 million Americans who smoke cigarettes, the idea of quitting can feel truly daunting.
And during a global pandemic, well, quitting may feel nearly impossible.
Despite the warnings from the World Health Organization that smokers may be at a higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19, smoking is actually on the rise: Nearly a third of smokers report they're smoking more since the pandemic began. It’s no surprise that COVID-19 stress and isolation are major triggers to continue smoking—or to pick it back up.
With smoking triggers like stress at an all-time high, how does a brand deliver the motivation and support needed to inspire smokers to start stopping, or to keep going on their quit journey?
Enter the Nicorette Start Stopping Shout Out: a powerful initiative to keep smokers motivated at every point along their own personal quit journey.
Nicorette knows that advice from former smokers who have successfully quit is the most effective way to connect with smokers who are interested in starting (or continuing on) a quit journey of their own. Knowing that smoking triggers are at an all-time high, Nicorette issued a national call to friends and family members, asking them to nominate a smoker they’d like to help quit. In return, they’d get a chance to receive a personalized video shout out from a famous former smoker, such as Dale Earnhardt Jr., Rumer Willis, or Ross Mathews.
We conducted extensive research to identify authentic voices that resonated with the Nicorette audience and that had a compelling quit story to share. Dale Jr., Rumer, and Ross were quickly identified because of their authentic and raw stories about their own experiences quitting smoking. Each was then asked to share their own quit journey on social media, in order to reach as many people as possible who were navigating similar issues of their own. By turning to such relatable icons, we were able to give consumers a real sense of support and motivation to start or continue their quit journeys.
The activation was amplified through the influencers’ own social media channels (as well as Nicorette’s owned channels) to raise awareness of the Start Stopping Shout Out and help drive nominations. Through the use of media channels including Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, our influencers shared personal stories about their own quit journeys, and invited people to nominate a smoker who they’d like to help quit. By filling out a simple form, those struggling to stop smoking could win a personalized video of encouragement from a beloved celebrity.
Dale Jr., Rumer, and Ross brought their personal stories and the Nicorette Start Stopping Shout Out to high-impact consumer, sports, lifestyle, and business media, with stories appearing in Forbes, People, Yahoo!, and Medium’s Authority Magazine, among others. With the help of these influential voices, Nicorette was catapulted to the forefront of media conversations.
The campaign received tremendous media coverage, resulting in 123 placements and surpassing 2 billion media impressions in under one week—ultimately exceeding KPIs by 467%.
Consumers were engaged on social media throughout the campaign, sharing everything from brand love to personal quit stories—and some celebrities even joined the conversation! Not only did we encourage smokers on their quit journey, we also drove sales for the brand, with Nicorette capturing its highest share gain of the year.