Canadian Cancer Society

Social marketing campaign and “Nico-Bar” event

“We recently created focus groups on the Nico-Bar with young Quebecers, with excellent results. Their comments were such a close match for the messages we wanted to get across that you’d almost think we’d paid them. Thank you again to the Atypic team for its amazing creativity!”

- Dominique Claveau
Director, Cancer Prevention and Health Promotion
Canadian Cancer Society – Quebec Division

It’s a mandate that everybody wants, but one that’s not easy to pull off:

How can you get young people aged 18 to 24 to stop smoking, or never start at all? We had to come up with a new, surprising angle and, most importantly, a message they didn’t see coming from miles away.

How Atypic helped

It was a list of all the toxic ingredients found in cigarettes that sparked the idea for the campaign. Young people like to get together over a drink. So what if we asked them to “drink” what people smoke?

To make it happen, Atypic created the Nico-Bar, a pop-up bar that is easy to transport and set up in schools. Representatives from the Canadian Cancer Society man the bar, serving colourful shooters with ingredients that look suspiciously like paint, tar and arsenic to educate its “customers” about the health impact of the toxins found in a regular cigarette … all with a dark sense of humour that really captures the young people’s interest. A VIP space is also set up for already-addicted students where before-and-after pictures show them tobacco’s long-term effects on their appearance.

The campaign also includes a website (in French) and an original social media presence featuring contests, the DJ’s musical selections and invitations to tag friends with whom they want to share the shooter of the day. Nico-Bar patrons are also invited to share their looks of disgust on Instagram and Facebook after tasting one of our shooters.

The results

Since it was first launched, the Nico-Bar and its team have been touring vocational schools and adult education centres across the province.

Young people who have tried out the Nico-Bar so far are thrilled with their experience and report that it encourages them to really think about their tobacco consumption.

The event has been so successful that the Canadian Cancer Society plans to take it to even more educational institutions in the months ahead.

It’s our cause too!

The Canadian Cancer Society is a national community-based organization of volunteers whose mission is the eradication of cancer and the enhancement of the quality of life of people living with cancer. Atypic has teamed up with the Society on several different projects, including awareness campaigns and social marketing campaigns.


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