American Lung Association Clears the Air on Vaping, TikTok Style

Ad Council campaign channels viral trends

How can a well-intentioned but uncool dad engage his middle-school daughter in a meaningful chat about the dangers of vaping?

Calling her "bestie" and suggesting e-cigs are "sketch" won't do. Nor will a round of Bananagrams where the tiles spell out L-E-T-S-T-A-L-K.

But making an impromptu dance video with "Backpack Kid" Russell Horning checks some boxes, as we learn in #DoTheVapeTalk, an entertaining :60 from Hill Holliday and the Ad Council for the American Lung Association:

#DoTheVapeTalk | Youth Vaping Prevention | Ad Council

Breaking today, #DoTheVapeTalk subverts the doofus dad trope. Played by Dwayne Colbert, that dude embraces his lack of chill, encouraging parents to visit for tips and information. You go, bestie!

"There are so many distractions out there and it can be really difficult for parents to talk to their kids, especially about serious issues. Parents need to get creative and so did we," Ad Council group campaign director Cece Wedel tells Muse. "Parents of middle schoolers have the power to intervene and educate around important choices while their children are still willing to listen."

E-cigarette use among teens rose nearly 75 percent from 2016 to 2021, while kids who vape are four times more likely to try cigarettes. The ALA believes improved communication between parents and kids can help reverse the trend.

"There's a misconception that the 'good kids' don't vape. But there's no one type of kid who vapes," Wedel says. "In fact, kids who are unlikely to smoke cigarettes may be at risk. Stress and peer pressure are universal and the main motivators for kids to try vaping, so every kid—including athletes, social butterflies and bookworms—is at risk."

In the clip, Colbert and 14-year-old Maya Youabian are highly relatable, while Horning's cameo beneath the ring-light adds a nice absurdist touch. It's also on brand, given his anti-vaping stance.

"We had Russell come to our rehearsal to teach the choreographer and actors how to do his famous 'Flossing' dance," recalls Hill Holiday product head Brian Gonsar. "Maya picked up the dance fairly quickly. Dwayne struggled a bit at the beginning but after two days of rehearsal we could all see his progress."

His moves are still pretty sketch.

The campaign will run across TV, digital and billboards, with print and radio elements also in the mix.

In recent years, anti-vaping efforts have been all over the creative map. Truth Initiative's "Breath of Stress Air" and "Depression Sticks" effectively focus on how e-cigs can mess with your head, while these slang-slathered spots from the Evelyn Lilly Lutz Foundation share #DoTheVapeTalk's desire to bridge the generation gap. Earlier Lutz Foundation PSAs ratcheted up the weirdness (perhaps a tad too much) by showing teens carrying annoying people—known as "Vapes"—on their backs all day.


Chief Creative Officer: Icaro Doria
Group Creative Director: Guilherme Racz and Lucas Casão
Senior Copywriter: Ronen Goldfarb
Senior Art Director: Carmen Fenech
Associate Copywriter: Maggie Fuller
Business Affairs: Robert Wagner
Head of Production: Brian Gonsar
Associate Producer: Taryn Haughton
Account Team: Daniela Casas, Joan Golden
Project Manager: Jessica Gardnier
Production Company: Strike Anywhere
Managing Director: Victoria Guenier
Producer: Kyra Shelgren
Director: Pete Marquis
Director of Photography: Julia Swain

Edit House: Arcade Edit
Editor: Matt Laroche
Assistant Editor: Joelle Graham
Post Producer: Tom Barnett
Executive Producer: Crissy DeSimone: 

Music House: MAS – Music and Strategy
President: James Alvich
Original Music: Artist/Title: Vape Talk
Executive Music Producer: Joey Reyes
Music Composer: Mike Gonek
Sound Engineer: Mike Marinelli at Sonic Union
Colorist Tim Masick at Company3

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