Sometimes “disruptive honesty” means acknowledging how little your audience wants to hear from you. Example: convincing lifelong smokers to consider quitting. With advertising. Exactly.
We realized our only hope was to shut up and listen. What we found was that when folks—even those highly defensive about their habit—have a platform to be introspective about smoking, those walls quickly crumble. We asked real smokers to write “Dear Me” letters to themselves about smoking.
The results were powerful. And so was the multi-platform "Dear Me" campaign.
Calls to the Tobacco Quitline tripled in every state where the campaign ran. If you give a hoot about ad trophies, the “Dear Me” radio campaign convinced the Radio Mercury Awards to change the rules and let a public service campaign win the Grand Prize for the first time ever.