Did you know 71.5% of Oakland Schools Technical Campus Northeast (OSTC-NE) students do not vape regularly?
These results came from a survey conducted by Information Technology, Entrepreneurship & Advanced Marketing (iTEAM) students who were tasked with creating a campaign that will be marketed countywide.
The idea to incorporate the students into a public marketing campaign began after OSTC-NE iTEAM Instructor Elizabeth Diehl formed a partnership with a local organization, Alliance of Coalitions for Healthy Communities, which is a substance abuse prevention organization that links 19 community coalitions. Alliance was interested in launching an anti-vaping campaign – and using actual students to do so.
“We did not want to assume we knew what would attract students,” said Corey James, a prevention program manager at Alliance who worked with the students on the campaign.
So, each week, James, or one of his colleagues, would come to OSTC-NE and meet with a select group of students to procreate an anti-vaping marketing promotion. The only catch, explained James, was the students had to create a social norms-based campaign, meaning the message’s dialogue needed to focus on changing the perception that vaping is common.
“Most people think that looking at it from the negative aspect gets attention, so you are trying to change the perception, but, actually, most kids aren’t doing it,” explained James. “You are taking the focus off of the negative aspects and focusing on the positive.”
The students did many things to promote their campaign, such as create the taglines “Be Your Own Flavor” and “You Don’t Need a Hit To Get Lit,” which were printed on posters around the school. They also developed a website and a video. Moreover, the students conducted a survey of their OSTC-NE classmates and utilized those stats for their social norms campaign.
“I was pretty excited because we do a lot of projects that are simulations and this is actually a real thing,” said Ryan Emert, an iTEAM student at OCTC-NE and a senior at Lake Orion High School.
The group recently presented their campaign during an Alliance event geared toward local teens and James said the group’s poster design will be printed and distributed throughout the county.
“They are brilliant. I absolutely think they are some of the most intelligent and creative students I’ve had the privilege of working with,” he said.