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Nicotex, Cipla’s nicotine replacement therapy, wanted to position itself as a friend that supports smokers on a tough journey — kicking the addiction. To that end, it wanted to create a campaign with the message that will power ‘can move mountains’ — with a little help from a friend. BBC Studios, in association with Mindshare and Cipla, conceived a show around ordinary people taking on a difficult and universal a challenge – trekking to the Mount Everest base camp. That’s how ‘I Can You Can’, a one-of-its-kind show and brand integration opportunity, was formulated to tell the brand story.

Strategy

The insight was that kicking the habit is a life challenge and, like with all challenges, it needs support from those close to us. Therefore, they decided to showcase the journey of three individuals who wanted to quit smoking, each partnered with a buddy who had quit smoking to help them over the tougher stages. Together, they brought their journey of conquering their ‘personal Everest’ to life by creating the adventure reality show. These ‘quitters’ (ex-smokers) became the voice of the brand and mentors to ‘intending quitters’.

 Execution

  • BBC Studios India partnered with Cipla and Mindshare to produce a six-episode branded content series that was broadcast in December 2017. The series revolved around kicking the smoking habit, but by creating a relatable reality show module, it avoided sounding preachy, and remained exciting and entertaining.
  • BBC Studios chose actor/athlete Milind Soman, who used to be a heavy smoker but has today become the embodiment of fitness, as the host.
  • The brand also forged two strategic partnerships — with National Geographic Channel, known for showcasing great infotainment, and VIU as the OTT partner for its youth reach, languages and genres.

Challenges

  • In a market with several anti-addiction solutions, standing out and gaining mindshare was tough.
  • The series was filmed in two countries and across languages and cultures. The teams faced severe weather, stoppages and other challenges while attempting one of the world’s toughest climbs.
  • Participants, along with the entire production crew of BBC Studios India, underwent a gruelling 30-day training and medical sessions to prepare themselves for the scenic yet treacherous journey to the Everest base camp.

The video case study:

 

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