FDOH – Tobacco Free Florida – In the Cut


Big Tobacco has a lengthy history of targeting and exploiting Black communities, especially black men, through sophisticated marketing tactics, including a heavy emphasis on menthol cigarette advertising. The impact has been devastating. To help address this health equity issue, we worked hand-in-hand with our client Golin to create a campaign for Tobacco Free Florida called In the Cut. This ambitious initiative was designed to meet black men on their terms, in a place with real cultural impact, where they can have open and honest discussions about healthy equity issues – the neighborhood black barbershop.

We started by identifying barbershop owners with high respect and influence in Black communities that represented the population we hoped to reach. We chose a well-known, second-generation barbershop, Slice’s Classic Cutz, based in Liberty City, Miami, near the famous public housing complex dubbed ‘Pork and Beans.’ We produced a short film about the owner’s experience with tobacco, ultimately resulting in the loss of his father to lung cancer. We also added messaging and education elements by recreating a barbershop and filming a panel of other barbershop owners and health experts, moderated by the leader of the Center for Black Health Equity.

We kept filming conditions at the barbershop loose and lively, as reflected in the footage and interactions we captured. The barber shop’s feeling and aesthetic carried over into our post-production edit, resulting in authentic and emotional videos. The full In the Cut live public engagement campaign, complete with educational materials, officially launched at the 2023 Florida Classic, one of the premiere HBCU football events of the year. This was followed up by the dissemination of print materials to barbershops across Florida, complementing paid and organic social media, and digital media efforts. The campaign has been recognized with a National ADDY Award.