Chicago Department of Public Health.

Taking on Tobacco

Tobacco is up to its old tricks of disproportionately targeting Black and Latinx youth to addict a new generation of smokers through candy-flavored products. Additionally, the tobacco industry continues to leverage marketing to exploit the aspirations, social unrest, teen rebellion and other social and economic factors to lure the most vulnerable to their products. 


Purple Group developed an  integrated marketing strategy to combat this targeting. The campaign included direct outreach in high schools through young ambassadors. Informed by focus groups, the creative approach leveraged the insight that most teenagers did not know that candy-flavored products and vaping were tobacco (i.e., no different from smoking and potentially more dangerous). 


The message “It’s tobacco disguised as candy, ice pops, and chocolate” was executed across OOH, digital and social media, as well as outreach in the high schools. Other supporting brochures and premiums were leveraged during the high school discussions. 

  • OOH, transit ads and digital advertising
  • Over 16M impressions 
  • 42K clicks to the website
  • Close to 2,000 students engaged in lunchroom takeovers
  • Partnership with True Star