New Research Paper: Reducing Smoking Among Alternative Teens

To counter pro-tobacco marketing in Virginia, Rescue Agency partnered with the Virginia Foundation for Healthy Youth to develop Syke, a lifestyle-focused teen prevention campaign. Created for the higher-risk “Alternative” teen peer crowd, we leveraged our unique Social Branding framework to incorporate Alternative values such as creative expression, challenging mainstream norms, and a love of alternative rock music into our tobacco-free events and messaging.

Researchers found that overall recall, liking, and comprehension were significantly higher in 2014 than in 2011. The campaign reached and was liked by the target audience, and the Social Branding framework effectively appealed to higher-risk audiences with learnings applicable to other behaviors as well. Additionally, those who liked and understood Syke had half the chance of smoking compared to those who disliked and did not understand it.

In our newest research paper “Social branding framework to address smoking among alternative peer crowd teens,” published by the Journal of Social Marketing, we discuss our Social Branding framework and dive deeper into the results of the Syke social marketing campaign.

READ MORE: Learn about our approach to creating tobacco control campaigns.


Learn more about how we use research to design groundbreaking strategies that authentically reach high-risk audiences.


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