Haberman Creates Humorous, Youth-Driven Vaping Prevention and Cessation Campaign


By The Minneapolis Egotist / /

1-833-HEY-NORM hotline – and its social, print, and out-of-home ads from the Minnesota Department of Health – are awkward, and that’s the point.

Haberman, a full-service marketing communications agency with a 25-plus-year history of modern storytelling for media and marketing, has created a new campaign for the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) with an arresting, entertaining approach to helping youth have tough conversations with their peers about vaping.

Utilizing the look and feel of infomercials and low-budget lawyer graphics, the “1-833-HEY-NORM” campaign features a fully functioning telephone and text hotline, hosted by an energetic, dorky, but well-meaning adult who uses corny puns and jokes to share the risks of vaping.

Haberman’s strategy is rooted in understanding how youth value friendship, loyalty, and empathy. Social media has helped create a culture of care for youth, and this campaign is designed to leverage this trend.

“Today’s youth don’t want to be the fun police, but they are increasingly concerned about their peers’ vaping habits,” said J. Zachary Keenen, Creative Group Lead, Design Director + Partner, Haberman. “We created Norm to reinforce that peer influence is key to helping youth stop vaping, much more so than the constant stream of messages from adults.”

With its lengthy experience in public health, and wellness marketing strategies, Haberman has worked closely with MDH and sees youth as an essential partner for raising awareness and changing social norms around vaping and underage tobacco use.

Most recently, Haberman collaborated with MDH on another smoking cessation initiative focused on adults, “Keep Quitting,” which debuted in Summer 2022. The agency also created a youth-led engagement and leadership campaign for MDH that is part of the state’s larger youth e-cigarette and commercial tobacco prevention and cessation initiative.

“Minnesota’s youth in 2023 are fiercely loyal to their peers,” said Parker Smith, Communication Planner at MDH. “Although they are concerned about the risks of vaping, they also have a strong sense of independence. Vaping is seen as part of that independence. That’s why it’s critical for peers to start a conversation about vaping, no matter how awkward it feels.”

The campaign includes print, out-of-home, billboards, mobile, social, streaming audio, and YouTube ads will launch by April 1. Video spots were produced by Plural Films and directed by Kat Raphael


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