Nicotex: I Can You Can


Campaign Summary

Quitting smoking is difficult. The objective of Nicotex’s campaign was to make smokers in India believe that it is possible to quit smoking, demonstrate success stories of people who’ve already quit smoking and simultaneously inspire other smokers who want to quit. This would establish Nicotex as an enabler in the journey of conquering smoking as an addiction. The campaign started with a contest asking people to either send in stories of their ongoing struggle to quit smoking or success stories of how they managed to kick the habit. Influencers Milind Soman and Atul Kasbekar shared videos talking about their stories of struggle and encouraged their fans to give up the habit reiterating that if they can quit smoking, anyone can. 

Three smokers and three ex-smokers were chosen from thousands of contest entries online for an adventurous journey to the Everest basecamp, which resulted in a six-episode TV show and web series called, I Can You Can, which was hosted by fitness expert, Milind Soman.

Nicotex understood the constant struggle of smokers who are trying to quit. This campaign was designed specifically to inspire smokers to start or continue this difficult journey, and drive a simple message, “Quitting smoking might be difficult, but it certainly is not impossible. Through this campaign we showcased inspirational stories of how many have already quit or are trying to quit smoking.”


Objective and Context:

While Nicotex is a Nicotine Replacement Therapy brand, and is recommended and targeted to anyone who consumes tobacco and intents to quit, the core audience of the brand is predominantly men ages 25 to 44. In India in particular, 89 percent of smokers are men.  Majority of smokers intend to quit smoking at specific life stages, such as when they get married, have their first child, or the child starts questioning them on their habit. Along with being conscious about their own health, external influences like family, friends keep reinforcing their concerns and increase their motivation to quit.

Target Audience:

To create a platform which brought Smokers & Quitters together to develop a new social narrative around quitting and real-life stories. The #ICanYouCan platform was developed for quitters to partner with smokers and help them conquer their personal Everest. Through a mass outreach campaign, the brand invited the audiences to share how they are conquering their personal Everest using #ICanYouCan — and get a chance to join the quest to Everest Base Camp.

The company involved influencers, Milind Soman, Atul Kasbekar, and Anrunima Sinha to drive credibility. In the next phase, the company developed a six-episode digital video series. The original content series drove the message that climbing Everest is not just about the destination, it’s also about a mindset, like quitting smoking

Creative Strategy:

The "I Can You Can” campaign was an extension of Nicotex’s ambitious dream of a smoking-free India. From having a dedicated app to tracking a smoker’s quitting journey in the previous year, "I Can You Can” took a radically different approach by partnering with Viu, and devised a well-designed influencer strategy, with a mobile-first approach to reach out to the core TG who spend more than 80 percent of their time consuming content on-the-go.

The struggles for a smoker to quit his or her addiction is real. With “I Can You Can,” Nicotex revolutionized the traditional form of communication by creating a new and positive template that challenged the reliance on the regular TVC approach, and focused on long format content to serve the brand philosophy in an inspiring and engaging storytelling that is genuine and relatable.

With the company’s strategic partnerships in place, Nicotex has become the pioneer in the category to create a unique branded adventure reality show that was shown on TV and a mass digital platform to reach out to a larger audience for engagement and viewership. The branded content format also involved and engaged the audiences in the journey, creating empathy and a clear, concise path forward for smokers.


Overall Campaign Execution:

Nicotex had set out to change a smoker mindset and habit of quitting addiction. While TV helped with the reach, the movement’s success largely depended on ensuring constant conversations and triggering the thought among smokers. With around 65 percent of the media budget allocated to mobile and digital marketing, Nicotex relied largely on mobile during this six-month long campaign to have a conversational approach through multiple customized formats of content.

The movement bought together a plethora of influencers like Atul Kasbekar, Milind Soman, and others who were eager to share their personal story of quitting that a smoker can relate to. The company’s mobile and digital strategy helped ensure that these stories create a conversation. An adaptive content strategy guaranteed that these stories were served to the audience in forms and formats that they like to consume content. By creating a weekly episodic series, the company sustained conversations by sending periodic reminders and catch-up content.

Nicotex as a brand enjoys high awareness, but remains low on consideration. It operates in a challenging space when it comes to communication. The campaign aimed at addressing addiction and changing user habits and mindset. The category communication usually focuses on the negatives of smoking rather than highlighting the benefits of quitting. Every smoker knows the hazards of smoking but the addiction is so fierce that they ignore such messaging.


The struggles for a smoker to quit addiction is real. With “I Can You Can,” Nicotex revolutionized the traditional form of “Quit Smoking” communication by creating a new and positive template. It did this while engaging people in the brand philosophy of choosing life over smoking in an inspiring and engaging story-telling on mobile.

Not only did more people choose to quit smoking but the unique content based campaign format helped people enforce the belief that they can lead a smoke free, fulfilling life by replacing an addiction with a positive change in lifestyle.

Results (including context, evaluation, and market impact)

Through this campaign, Nicotex managed to change a smoker’s perception with 87 percent smokers believing that Nicotex does indeed help in quitting smoking. The campaign managed to reach out to 93 percent of its target audience and garnered more than 9 million views (and counting) on Viu’s assets. With the company’s social and mobile strategy, the campaign created enormous buzz and engagement with more than 130,000 conversations around #ICanYouCan.

Categories: Location-Based Services or Targeting | Industries: Food, Beverage, Tobacco | Objectives: Location-Based Services or Targeting | Awards: Silver Global Winner