Smoking starts at an early age. 25 percent of high school students in second grade smokes. Every year, 12,000 people die as a result of smoking. This is one of our most important health issues. At the same time, cigarettes have the best position in the store – behind the counter. The wall behind the counter in a store is called “power wall”, because exposing products there has a huge impact on sales. Research shows that the more children and young people are exposed to cigarettes, the greater the risk that they will start smoking. The assignment was therefore to increase awareness and engagement of the general public and politicians about the need to introduce a ban on exposure to tobacco in stores.
As awareness was low, we needed to make the public aware of the exposure issues over time. The strategy was to communicate in three phases.
Firstly, we needed to establish the problem of tobacco exposure in stores through. We did so through debate articles and press releases targeted towards news media, informational videos on social media and collaborations with influencers.
Then we wanted to make the general public and decision-makers aware of how strong the marketing power of the tobacco wall behind the counter is, we conducted an experiment where we let a small shop exchange the tobacco behind the counter for fruit, hats and garden flamingos. All products behind the counter sold out within hours, proving that the wall behind counter draws great attention and is a powerful sales tool.
As a final summarization, we presented the financial savings a ban on tobacco exposure in stores would have on society trough a seminar and report.
The campaign was featured in national and local news media as well as health media, for example the Secretary General of The Swedish Cancer Society was interviewed about the project in SVT Morgonstudion, one of Sweden’s largest morning shows. Total reach of the PR campaign was 3.5 million. The video content in social media reached over 2 million people in the target group.