The Norwegian Directorate of Health
The Snus Campaign

by Burson-Marsteller - Norway

The good and the bad news about young Norwegians.

Young Norwegians smoke less nowadays. Which is good. Except they recently began to replace cigarettes with snus, a wad of “smokeless tobacco” tucked between teeth and gum.

Which is dangerous and addictive, says the Norwegian Directorate of Health. They asked Burson-Marsteller Norway for help against snus.

The target group was complex, from 13 to 26, an age cynical about advertising. They thought addiction was cool; a ritual-rich way to bond socially. Although users didn’t reject health warnings, they were much more receptive to messages speaking directly to their youth and attitudes.

Burson-Marsteller’s strategy aimed gentle mockery at their in-group rituals. A serious young Norwegian confesses addiction to rocket (the herb), hiding it under his bed for use first thing, stuffing the greenery into his cheek. Unsmiling but funny. A deadpan teenage girl relates a similar tale about her relationship with canned tuna.

The campaign successfully rendered the “glamour” of snus and addictive behaviour not cool but laughable to its target group.

Seven films played in social media, TV, and cinema, gathering almost 3 million views. The campaign lead film was the fifth most viewed Norwegian commercial on YouTube in 2015.

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