Nicorette bets quitting smoking will ‘suck less’

Just in time for New Year’s resolutions, Nicorette launched a $15 million integrated campaign to encourage smokers to kick the habit. The effort is a more sympathetic approach by the company that focuses on the challenges of quitting smoking. The initiative, launched last week, runs through the end of April and features the tagline, “Nicorette makes quitting suck less.”

The campaign — the company’s first move into social media such as Facebook and YouTube — contains a number of digital elements. The effort features a Web site where consumers can track their progress using the quitting-smoking programs. Users can create a profile on the site. Nicorette will remarket to these customers via e-mail.

The campaign is the first effort with Nicorette’s new agency of record TBWAChiatDay in New York, which picked up the account on June 4.

The effort also includes traditional advertising. It tries to connect with smokers on a personal level by admitting the challenges that they face when trying to move beyond smoking, rather than relying on the widely known health risks of smoking.

“Many smokers feel like they are being judged by the disapproving moral majority,” said Michael Roe, marketing director of the US Smoking Control business at GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare. “We wanted to show them that we were on their side in helping them quit.”

This, along with its newfound emphasis on digital, is a new strategy for Nicorette, which in the past has conducted campaigns focused on the flavors of their gum, the challenges of cravings and talking to a doctor.

The creative includes images of a device called “the Suckometer” that measures the “suck level” of a smoker’s craving to demonstrate how the placebo Nicorette product can change a smoker’s craving for a cigarette from “sucks a lot” to “sucks less.” The effort also features banner ads, viral video, a first-time Facebook fan page, TV, print and radio.

To launch the effort, Nicorette is running an open letter to smokers in national magazines and newspapers, and on its Facebook fan page and Web site.  The site’s free behavioral support tool, which rolls out today, aims to help smokers design their own personalized smoking program.

The campaign is aimed at acquiring new customers, generally smokers 30 years of age and older, who have tried unsuccessfully to quit cold turkey in the past.

“The nature of smoking control products, is that you are always looking for new customers,” said Roe. “They come in, they use you and then they move off of our products and are not smokers anymore, so we are focused on acquisition.”
Roe said that Nicorette has an average of 1.5 million consumers a year using its products, up to 1 million of whom have never previously experienced the brand.

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