Created as a kind of broadcast media outlet—including editorial content and changing seasonal concepts and episodes—EPAV was able to cover a wide range of information sub-themes via different formats.
EPAV (which is VAPE spelled backwards) is an infotainment platform that showed the other side of vaping by featuring questions from real teens. These were made into various content formats: testimonials, experiences shared between teens, opinions, interviews by teens, and facts about vaping. Tell me more
Teens’ lack of knowledge about electronic cigarettes affects their ability to make informed choices.
Although e-cigarettes were originally created to help adults quit smoking, they have quickly become a gateway for tobacco use in teens. Now sadly considered a cool trend, vaping has managed to win young people over with plenty of disinformation. Parents don’t know what’s going on, schools aren’t talking about it… When it comes to vaping, teen knowledge is vague and incomplete and, worse, trying vaping is seen as no big deal. The result? Vaping isn’t considered a bad habit but rather one that comes with no risks.
Prioritizing education via a large Quebec awareness campaign.
For the first time in its history, the CQTS (Conseil québécois sur le tabac et la santé) wanted to speak directly to Quebec teens aged 12 to 17 via a large campaign focusing on prevention and raising awareness about the seriousness of this subject. Unlike smoking, vape use has not been examined and analyzed to help teens make informed choices. Our mandate was to find ways to de-trivialize vaping for teens, who are unable to see the negative sides of vaping for themselves (addiction, harmful chemicals, industry marketing, etc.).
We had two key communication objectives: Ensure the visibility of the information being communicated plus encourage teens to engage with the content to help change vaping behaviour.
Specifically, we aimed to:
• create a large body of informative content on vape prevention for Quebec teens aged 12 to 17
• help teens understand the adverse effects of vaping via a targeted, information-based approach which captures the attention of a target audience that’s difficult to reach
• inspire interaction with messaging about the hidden effects of vaping to encourage the following behaviour: not try vaping for the first time, ask the right questions to make informed choices about using on an occasional versus a habitual basis
Our biggest challenge: The young people we needed to target are difficult to reach and engage via brand content. This is why we set up a collaborative methodology with a test group of teens that represented our target audience. Using interviews during the strategy and creation phases, we were able to pinpoint engagement opportunities, influencers who could communicate the message, and the best media platforms to deliver our concept.
During these interviews, we discovered the best way to capture teens’ attention was simple: Get people their own age who have experienced the negative effects of vaping to speak with them. The hard truth is that teens do not trust adults, do not live the same kind of lives, and hear adult advice as moralizing. Elisabelle, 16, put it this way: “You need teens who have already vaped—not just facts and big speeches. It will have more impact—they’re a more trusted source. For me, if someone my age said ‘vaping is fun and it’s hard to quit’ I would listen because I didn’t know vaping actually did that.”
In other words, teens’ experience is the most concrete and impactful way to illustrate addiction and the negative effects of using e-cigarettes. That’s why we created an infotainment content platform based on revelations and questions asked by teens about e-cigarettes and their effects—all revolving around teens themselves. This platform had to live and evolve over the space of five years in order to have a greater impact on the target audience, based on our findings, as well as offer new themes every year.
3 key principles of engagement:
1. Engage teens by gathering lived experiences, opinions, and interviews that enabled us to speak to them about the risks of addiction—as opposed to trying to talk to teens about facts, which risked alienating them. “The key arguments related to nicotine use (cancer, shortness of breath) we’ve heard them all before. People are still vaping as if there are no risks. It goes in one ear and out the other,” said Gabriel, 17.
2. Avoid the use of shock value, which could prove counterproductive. Scaring teens could cause more anxiety and add to their not wanting to look closely at the risk factors.
3. Create a solid content ecosystem to inundate their social-media platforms with complementary information: short ads in paid media, medium and long ads to catch and hold their attention so they can learn more.
When it came to media strategy, a detailed analysis of our audiences enabled us to use digital channels that specifically targeted the young people we wanted to speak to. We also worked in close collaboration with the content strategy team when it came to building a paid media strategy. Short videos (teasers) were created to feed the media strategy and expose as many teens as possible to the EPAV Média content platform and generate traffic on content pieces to increase the view rate of each episode.
It was important that we raise awareness of the EPAV Média platform to ensure the success of the editorial content. That’s why TUX mandated influencers to quickly raise the target audience’s awareness of EPAV Média. A pre-roll campaign ran during shows for young people on Télé-Québec and Tou.tv, which served to generate views for three teasers and increase visibility for EPAV Média. To ensure a good view rate for each episode, it was also important to support this initiative with targeted media investments across social media via precisely targeted placements on Instagram aimed at 13- to 17-year-olds, which generated click throughs to episodes.
We came up with the idea of EPAV (which is VAPE spelled backwards)—an infotainment platform that showed the other side of vaping by featuring questions from real teens. These were made into various content formats: testimonials, experiences shared between teens, opinions, interviews by teens, and facts about vaping.
Created as a kind of broadcast media outlet—including editorial content and changing seasonal concepts and episodes—EPAV was able to cover a wide range of information sub-themes via different formats. The main “long” video formats were able to be diffused in different formats across various platforms, including YouTube, Instagram, and TikTok. The informal tone was designed to not sound like an ad, instead bringing teens together in the types of moments and interactions they are used to seeing online. The end result was an information portal for teens that involved them in information research and brought them closer to the subject.
This digital campaign unfolded on a large scale across various platforms, using a media strategy that aimed for maximum content exposure.
Thanks to a multi-platform presence, phased deployment, and collaborations with influencers to accelerate discovery of the content platform, we were able to reach 92% of Instagram users aged 13 to 17 across Quebec with our three teasers. Engagement with the platform was also a success, notably when it came to collaboration with influencers, reaching a retention rate of 89.4%—a real tour de force for a launch. By diffusing information to raise awareness as well as engaging teens to promote behaviour changes, we were able to share the negative effects of e-cigarettes with Quebec teens to help educate them to make informed choices—including not trying vaping for the first time, vaping less, or quitting altogether.
Teens’ experience is the most concrete and impactful way to illustrate addiction and the negative effects of using e-cigarettes. That’s why we created an infotainment content platform based on revelations and questions asked by teens about e-cigarettes and their effects—all revolving around teens themselves.
Elyse Noël de Tilly
Rewriting the story within - Rewriting the story within - Rewriting the story within - Rewriting the story within