Acento Advertising creates campaign for California Tobacco Control Program

While Covid-19-related illnesses and deaths ravage Latino communities across the state, tobacco-related diseases are the leading cause of death among Latinos. With research showing that smoking doubles the risk of Covid-19 complications, the urgency to help those who smoke or vape in quitting is more critical than ever. A new Spanish-language campaign, which included a :30 TV spot from the California Department of Public Health’s Tobacco Control Program, taps into Latinos’ fighting spirit to motivate smokers to keep trying. The campaign is part of a new statewide, multi-language effort to prevent or reduce tobacco use in California.

Acento Advertising in partnership with Duncan Channon and APartnership collaborated on the overall strategy which switches up the traditional smoking cessation approach of shaming and scaring smokers into quitting, opting instead to encourage and normalize the idea that failing is part of the quitting journey by highlighting stories of real California smokers and vapers.

“What we loved about this campaign is that while all partner agencies worked from a common strategy, we each layered a unique segment nuance that informed our creative execution,” says VP and Executive Creative Director at Acento, Vicent Llopis. “In our case, the nuance of Latino resilience informed our casting of stories and led us to develop a unique execution that Hispanic smokers will identify with while being synergistic with the other executions.”

The Spanish-language execution from Acento layers the insight supported by data that Latinos over-index compared to non-Hispanics in terms of their optimism (127), their willingness to make sacrifices in order to get ahead (267), and their ambition. The insight acknowledges that a large part of the segment is already used to facing challenges, celebrates the spirit that drives them to achieve their goals and invites them to leverage that fighting spirit to persevere in their quitting journey.  

Acento’s creative team heard from over 60 Spanish-speaking California smokers who shared their unscripted stories of perseverance, inner strength and determination during their multiple quitting attempts. Acento selected the story of Jackson Gutierrez, a 44-year-old ex-smoker who vividly recounts in the spot’s VO, the power that smoking had over him until he realizes that he, “wasn’t born a smoker” and decides to fight his habit using body, mind and spirit until he sees himself as a non-smoker again.

Enlisting production company 1stAveMachine as well as award-winning animation house, BRUT, Acento brought the animated TV spot to life using elements of Jackson’s story. Acento looked at many of the top animation reels around the world, searching for standout Latino directors and choosing Martin Allais for his art film style that was subtle yet bold. The animated visuals follow Jackson’s journey as he navigates his cravings which are symbolized by a monstrous cloud of cigarette smoke that he must battle in order to overcome his smoking addiction.

“Animation is a powerful medium when used correctly, creating clear and engaging storytelling,” says Director Martin Allais of 1stAveMachine. “We wanted to put ourselves in our hero’s shoes and tell their story from their personal perspective; a raw, honest journey supported by strength and will. This story is very real and tangible for many, and we wanted to bring it to life through imagination and the evocative use of thoughtful animation.”

The “Jackson” TV spot is part of a multi-channel Spanish language media campaign in key California markets that includes radio, digital and social to reach Spanish-preferred male adults 21+ who smoke and make up the largest demographic of smokers in the state, as well as young bilingual vapers. The campaign will also feature stories of smokers who have quit due to concerns over Covid-19.



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