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CA Tobacco Control Program: Ryan's Story

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With Covid-19 causing record numbers of people to attempt to quit smoking or vaping, the California Department of Public Health’s CA Tobacco Control Program is launching a new animated TV campaign that normalises the reality that failing is part of the quitting journey, and encourages people to get help. The new work is particularly relevant in light of research that has shown that smoking doubles the risk of getting seriously ill from Covid-19 - and a surge in people trying to quit. Created by Duncan Channon and directed and animated by Robertino Zambrano with Nexus Studios, the ‘Tell Your Story’ campaign takes a distinctive creative approach relative to decades of work that attempts to scare smokers straight by emphasising the life-threatening risks of smoking. In contrast to work that implicitly shames smokers for betting against their own health, Duncan Channon and CTCP are taking an empathetic approach that shows compassion for the reality that smokers and vapers nearly never succeed in quitting on the first try, or even the tenth. Led by a Duncan Channon creative team that includes former smokers, the agency spoke to more than 100 smokers and vapers about their unique stories of quitting - and failing along the way. The TV spots were born from 100% unscripted conversations with three real people - Steve, Ryan and George - and brought to life through animation by Robertino Zambrano in collaboration with Nexus Studios. The animation style is unique to each person, and reflects the details of their personal expression. The stories bring raw authenticity to the campaign’s message to smokers that ‘every attempt is part of your story to quit for good.’ The first spot brings the viewer into a conversation with Steve, a menthol smoker who laughs as he recounts the ‘rules’ he invented - and broke - as he tried to quit. Another tells the story of Ryan, a non-binary vaper who only found real strength to climb the mountain of quitting after seeing their little sister take up a vaping habit. The third film invites the audience to hear from George, an older smoker who recounts a moment when his confidence in his ability to quit dropped to new lows after 100 attempts to quit.
Credits Other credits

Associate Director of Creative Technology: J. Moe

Strategy Director: Kelleen Peckham

Brand Strategists: Jonah Kaufman and Katherine Dean

Director of Agency Collaboration and Equity: Kumi Croom

Account Supervisor: Davis Wolfe

Account Supervisor, digital: Devin Hynes

Account Manager: Salem Weresh

Senior Project Manager: Bryan Moore

Group Director, Communications Planning: Madelaine Robinson

Communications Planning Supervisor: Sydney McDermott

Communications Planner: River Crane

Associate Communications Planner: Katie Mansfield


Senior Broadcast Producer: Keenan Hemje

Associate Producer: Emily Sarale

Manager of Studio and Art Production: Shaz Kuerschner

Print Producer: Jess Shay

Studio Designer: Scott Whipple

Production Artist: Phat Trieu

Cultural Agency P{artners: Acento, APartnership

Music and Sound: Bamm Bamm Wolfgang

Composer and producer: Adam Alexander

Engineer at Soundfirm (Sydney, Australia): Andy Wright


Drums and Percussion for Steven: Andy Horvath

Electric Guitars for George: Marc Malouf

Harp for Ryan: Jake Meadows

Post Production: Golden State Post

Senior Flame Artist: Matt Trivan

Radio Mix: One Union

Engineer: Matt Wood

Executive Producer: Jaylen Block Smith

Assistant Engineer / Client Services: Michael Swarce

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