A hard-hitting campaign that personalized data research.

We’ve partnered with the California Tobacco Control Program on many projects, including the redesign and management of their main website. The Story Of Inequity campaign had a strangely unique origin story.

The original request was to publish spreadsheets with years of data collected about how big tobacco companies targeted under-protected communities in California. Tasked with bringing these grim truths to light, our creative team took a powerful human approach. This visually stunning campaign emphasizes the danger that happens when big tobacco companies are more concerned about their bottom line.

Tobacco Free CA

INDUSTRY: Public Health
LOCATION: California


A partnership with a world-renowned photographer set the backdrop for this campaign depicting the dark side of targeted advertising of Big Tobacco companies.


A mobile-first responsive front-end was built on top of a WordPress admin with customized plugins to import spreadsheets of research data.


A monthly newsletter template was designed and developed within the Active Campaign CRM to promote new content to subscribers.


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Creative inspiration from a strange source

Our approach was to simply make it personal. The research data was concerning, and our teams were very passionate about how this affects the people living within these targeted communities. They may see themselves in a positive light, while big tobacco’s targeted advertising keeps them in the darkness of poor health and poverty using targeted advertising.

Tobacco case study
Tobacco case study

Our team of brilliant creative minds conceived an idea using light and dark similar to the upside-down from Netflix’s hit Stranger Things. A three-day intensive shoot with world-class photographer Todd Antony produced portraits of individuals depicted in a metaphorical struggle against the tactical hand of Big Tobacco. This imagery would be a critical backdrop to help tell the story behind the research.

Unique requirements require unique solutions

This research was completed through a statewide grant. A strict condition of this grant was to publish the research for the public. This created a unique challenge for our designers and developers. Our creative team had to combine beautifully shot portraits with statistics and stories.

Tobacco case study
Tobacco case study

What came about was an interactive showpiece where the user reveals light/dark portraits with mouse interactions and has the choice to view the story and statistics behind the picture. On the technical side, our programmers not only created a stunning front-end experience from mobile to desktop, but they also automated the upload of years of statistical data through a simple CSV upload.

Tobacco case study


The hard-hitting campaign quickly drew the interest of the board members associated with the California Department of Public Health. Pulling data and applying visuals in a way that personalizes the message was a trailblazing way for CDPH to humanize research data. Our unique approach to both technology and creative helped set a new standard for how the CDPH approaches data research, statistics, and data visualization.