To convey the long-term effects of dipping tobacco and educate target markets to inhibit everyday use, Versus recently completed production and post on a powerful digital campaign that graphically illustrates the surgical tools required to remove mouth and jaw cancers – the gruesome aftermath of regular smokeless tobacco use. Under the direction of Justin Barnes, via agency FCB New York for the FDA’s The Real Cost Campaign, the digital marketing PSA depicts the 87 tools required to perform a mandibulectomy, a fear-inducing procedure to remove the jawbone. “87 Tools” is currently airing across digital platforms, including online :30 ads, banner ad executions, Instagram Stories, and Facebook Newsfeed pre-roll videos.

Following initial discussions with FCB New York in January 2019, Versus developed a conceptual approach to the campaign that solicits the powerful emotion of human fear from audiences by depicting tooth extractors, bone drills, clamps, saws and additional surgical equipment to convey the stark reality of mouth and jaw cancer removal. 

“Our objective was to create an existential anxiety in the viewer and take advantage of primal fear, pitting the most human qualities against the lifeless and industrial tools. We drove this to feel like a combination of an epic movie title sequence and a badass tool demo, all wrapped up in our powerful message for the FDA,” explained Barnes.  

By managing all aspects of production and post, Versus created a single cohesive brand experience for the campaign, uniting the cinematography, design, editorial and audio across all videos and banner ads. Following a week of test shooting at Somoroff Studios, Versus directed a three-day tabletop shoot to capture video and stills of the various surgical instruments, with a rapid six-week post-production turnaround to complete all deliverables. 

“We went in with the mindset that each part of the campaign is a piece of the bigger picture; the Instagram Stories align with the Facebook videos, and all work together to drive the messaging. By blurring the lines between the different aspects of the project and approaching the experience as a whole, we’ve created a compelling campaign with lasting impact,” said Barnes in closing.