Evelyn Lilly Lutz Foundation:

A Message to Gen Z


The Situation

In 2020, approximately one in five high school students and one in 20 middle school students used e-cigarettes. Not only does vaping having negative health effects, but teenagers who vape face a much higher risk of contracting and spreading COVID-19 than their peers who do not vape.

The Challenge

The challenge of this campaign is two-fold:

  • First, teenagers are not the most vulnerable population to COVID-19. Seniors are. In fact, seniors suffer over 80% of all COVID-related deaths. But, the pandemic had widened the empathy gap between teens and seniors, exacerbating frustrations on both sides.
  • Second, traditional tobacco prevention campaigns frequently use fear-based messaging – however, the effectiveness of this approach is questionable, as teens often reject such messages. So, we knew we had to take a more novel approach.

The Strategy

We engaged grandparents of Gen Z, both the demographic most effected by the pandemic and key influencers of teens, to reach this audience by speaking their language. Using Gen Z jargon in their statements, our seniors were able to make heartfelt and humorous appeals to their grandchildren, encouraging them to quit vaping during the pandemic.

The Execution

  • Developed, created, and executed during lockdown, this was our first “remote shoot”. We were directing senior citizens both unfamiliar and uncomfortable with technology – and doing it all from behind a screen.
  • Maintaining authenticity was key in this campaign, so the grandparents were shot in their own homes, wearing their own clothes. There was nothing choreographed about the subjects or their environments.
  • Launched on Instagram and YouTube in November – December of 2020, the campaign videos have been viewed over 20K times, garnered 300,000 impressions and have been shared hundreds of times.

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