Nicoderm’s cautionary tale hits YouTube, shills on eBay

Building on the insight that folks trying to kick nicotine tend to get a tad tetchy, JWT got to thinking about what they might do when in extremis.

For Nicoderm’s current campaign, JWT’s Toronto shop first went with the tube to comically illustrate the dark side of quitting smoking, coming up with the commercial in which a stressed flight attendant loses it but good. Then they headed over to YouTube, where a posting of the spot quickly racked up over 160,000 hits.

Now, JWT biz development director Michelle Milos tells MiC, the team is trying something they believe is a first. ‘To stand out, we decided to use a major player on the web in a way no one has before – eBay – not just to place an ad or sell the product, but to sell our brand idea through selling real items ‘influenced’ by our product.’

The strategy was based on the (probably well-founded) notion that someone in the pangs of nicotine withdrawal might rashly decide to trash their possessions. An eBay seller was created along with a list of items the fictional former smoker had destroyed while kicking the habit. One example, which was actually bid on and purchased, was an ‘Adding Machine with Flat Head Screwdriver’ (think about it till the penny drops). Along with descriptions of exactly how irritable the seller felt when destroying each item was a mention that next time he tries to quit, he’ll turn to Nicoderm.

The cost of the innovative gambit, says Milos, was ‘under $10 to make our campaign message available to the world, and we made that money back by selling some of the items.’ So now her team is waiting to see what becomes of some more damaged goods they posted on eBay yesterday.

Media buys for the initiative were handled by Toronto-based Excelerator Media, which is part of the JWT-owned WPP network.