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Addiction is the Supervillain in Marvel’s Vaping Prevention Comic from FCB 

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FCB New York works with FDA Center for Tobacco Products and Marvel Comics on the story looking to connect with teens around the perils of vaping through a hero vs villain plotline
Addiction is the Supervillain in Marvel’s Vaping Prevention Comic from FCB 

FCB New York and FDA’s Center for Tobacco Products are taking a unique approach to get teenagers’ attention around the perils of vaping. They’ve collaborated with Marvel Comics to create 'The Mind Control Menace,' a 16-page comic book in which the supervillain is addiction, to connect with teens through a popular passion point.

This marks the latest phase of FDA’s “The Real Cost” initiative, which kicked off in 2014 to combat cigarette smoking among teens, successfully preventing nearly 587,000 youth ages 11 to 19 from smoking cigarettes in its first two years and winning four Effies over the span of five years. In 2018, the program expanded its focus, prompted by the dramatic rise in vaping (a staggering 38.9% of high school teens in the U.S. reported using e-cigarettes frequently), and FCB New York launched the agency’s first vaping education campaign that same year. 'The Real Cost' strategically targets teens, utilising popular passion points and preferred platforms to deliver powerful messages.

“Marvel stories have always reflected the world around us, which allows us to find meaningful ways to reach fans of every age,” said Dan Buckley, president of Marvel Entertainment. “As a brand, we recognise the impact of the FDA’s mission to combat nicotine and the effect it can have on youth, and we are honoured to contribute to such an important campaign to raise awareness about the addictive nature of vaping.”

“The Mind Control Menace” is a quintessential hero vs. villain story about the control that addiction can have over one’s life. It was developed by and brought to life in collaboration between FCB New York and Marvel creators, including Marvel Creative Lead Darren Sanchez.

The story’s concept is rooted in the insight that vape users can quickly become subservient to nicotine and the cravings it manifests in one’s brain. Instead of rendering addiction in humanoid or monster form, the creative teams crafted a cosmic entity with no corporeal form — illustrations show vaporous green tentacles wrapping themselves around victims, for example.

The campaign unfolds in three forms: a digital static comic that lives on Marvel.com, an animated comic in five chapters that lives on Marvel.com and YouTube, and a printed comic book. Creative extensions will include online videos, social posts, custom display banners, digital assets and a landing page on TheRealCost.gov. Marvel will also produce a time-lapse video showing its illustrators working on a full-page frame.

The animated version has been teased out in chapters, leading up to the full static and animated comic. All content will be accessible through September and free to Marvel fans.

“We couldn’t be prouder of this work and of the collaborative team that got us here,” said Kathleen Crosby, director of the office of health communication and education at the FDA Center for Tobacco Products. “We are always looking for innovative and effective ways to grab the attention of teens and this partnership with Marvel Comics and FCB enabled us to convey our message in a highly creative and resonant way.”

“For most teens, high school is a time to enjoy more independence and self-reliance,” said Gary Resch, EVP, executive creative director at FCB. “With our partners at Marvel, we’re framing addiction as an entity that subverts that freedom — which, for a 16-year-old, makes for a perfect villain.”


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Categories: Health, Corporate, Social and PSAs

FCB New York, Tue, 06 Apr 2021 17:24:14 GMT