can the baloney

January 22, 2010

in communication

Nicorette Print-Open Letter_APPROVED_RGB[click to enlarge]

shocking. honest. humorous. it all depends on your point of view.

what it’s definitely not is boring or routine.

your employees are tired of the the typical humdrum corporate baloney. give it a rest.


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{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

pasmuz January 22, 2010 at 11:02 am

This is the kind of message that inspires brand loyalty for me. They recognize me as a person with a real problem and don’t sugar-coat it. No b-s.
I don’t smoke. But it kind of makes me wish I did so I could use Nicorette. 😉
Thanks for sharing this.


Jennifer McClure January 22, 2010 at 1:03 pm

I like how we’re seeing more and more (ok not enough yet) communications from companies and brands that “talk” to us in the same way that we have conversations. I agree that removing the corporate speak helps with building some level of trust in what’s being said. We can learn lots of lessons from campaigns like this in terms of HR & Recruiting communications. Thanks for pointing it out!


Supa Dupa Fresh January 22, 2010 at 3:08 pm

Interesting to see the word “sucks” getting its power out there.
First, Dyson U.K. (different meaning and context).
Recently, “Cancer Sucks” from several organizations including i2y and “Death Sucks” from my widowed friends at Soaring Spirits Loss Fdn.
Part of it is the age of the audience, for whom this language is less colloquial than it used to be; and I think some is our generations’ (a cluster) willingness to show our aggression in these issues.
Interesting thoughts, I’ll keep listening!


magpie January 22, 2010 at 3:19 pm

Thanks for posting this. I hadn’t seen the ad, but I did read the Times this morning, and was mystified:

“For instance, ads for the Nicorette gum…repeatedly use a particularly blunt streetwise word that has become a synonym for “lousy.” In one Nicorette ad, the word and its variations, none of which can be published here, appear in the headline and the tag line as well as eight times in the text. ”

Why wouldn’t the Times print the word “suck”?


fran January 22, 2010 at 3:46 pm

paul, the people at nicorette want to meet you. 😉

jennifer, it’d be great for more orgs to start talking like we all do. that’d be one less barrier to getting information and help out to employees. now, if we could also work on that overuse of stock photography…

supa dupa fresh, as someone pointed out to me, the use of the word “sucks” is so fitting when it comes to cigarettes. what else do you do w/them but suck? and yes, seems to be that “sucks” is catching on. i like this slate article that defends its use.

magpie, the ny times has some pretty rigorous style standards. i bet a lot of people went straight to google to find the ad after reading this piece.

btw: a friend of mine, nedra weinreich, shared this research on the nicorette ad’s use of the word and its effectiveness via twitter earlier today.



Rob January 25, 2010 at 9:38 am

Curious ad from Nicorette. The ad wins with the tone-of-voice and cut through. Problem is that the success rate of people giving up smoking via cessation products like Nicorette isn’t very high (ie. so low that in any other industry you’d expect a product recall).

Even the drinks industry is grudgingly playing with max/min qty consumption and consumption warnings. Nicorette should be a bit more factual with customers about long term success rates of their products. It really is vital info….


fran January 25, 2010 at 7:39 pm

rob, fair enough. i have seen some studies that support their effectiveness ( and also those that call it into question. there’s no doubt that steps like creating a quit plan and creating a support network make a significant difference, too.



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