Mat Hakansson, branding director for Nicorette’s range of products
designed to help smokers kick the habit, knows all about temptation -
and not just that found in a packet of 20.
He spent part of his national service in the Swedish navy. ’Let’s just
say I’ve seen the sort of pictures men hang on their walls and I know
the sort of urges they experience while they are away from home for long
periods,’ he says.
So Hakansson can empathise with BMP’s first work on the brand, a TV
commercial highlighting the frustrations of submariners prevented from
smoking while at sea - and the suggestion of a little light relief.
’The ad is based on fact,’ he says. ’The concept was born back in 1967
when two doctors began studying the Swedish navy. Their findings proved
that sailors who were smokers were increasingly irritable at sea.’
They took the findings to Nicorette - now owned by Pharmacia & Upjohn -
which developed a safe way of delivering nicotine in the form of chewing
gum and then arm patches.
The spot opens on a submarine cruising underwater in the Baltic in 1967
and its crew who are obviously suffering the effects of nicotine
Only one sailor is lying relaxed and happy in his bunk thanks to his
The ad is the result of extensive market research throughout Europe.
Hakansson’s schedule included visiting five capitals in 12 days where he
was surprised to find ’a consistently strong positioning’ for the
Hakansson was able to provide a lot of personal insight, having finally
kicked the habit himself. ’I stopped smoking about ten years ago but I
was still chewing tobacco until a month ago,’ he says.
’We know that we have something very unique and staff that work on the
account know that they have the power to make a real difference to the
lives of smokers, which makes for tremendous job satisfaction. We face a
situation where smokers enjoy smoking but about 75 per cent of them want