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Press Release - New York, 13 August 2020

Newest installment of “The Real Cost” created by FCB New York features award-winning documentary filmmaker Katina Mercadante.

New York, August 13, 2020 – FCB and FDA show just how far teens would go to vape in the newest evolution of “The Real Cost” youth tobacco prevention campaign with a new creative launch titled “Addiction Isn’t Pretty.” Teaming up with award-winning documentary filmmaker Katina Mercadante, the FCB New York campaign displays real-life situations surrounding teens who do whatever it takes to vape in a series of riveting commercials. As the stories shown are based on true events, Mercadante used non-actor teens to capture the true essence and authenticity of these crucial moments.  

While many teens are finally realizing the true detriments of vaping and nicotine, over 27% of high school students were still using e-cigarettes in 2019. “Addiction Isn’t Pretty,” inspired by actual anecdotes pulled from social media, dives deep into the mindset of teens across the country and depicts “the real cost” of vaping. 

In one clip, two friends are gossiping in a bathroom stall, when the friend accidentally drops her vape in the toilet. She fishes it out and proceeds to use it, much to her friend’s disgust. Another segment features a real-life family, in which the teenaged son anxiously waits for the right moment to swipe money from his mother’s purse. He finally does, but not without escaping his younger brother’s gaze.

“What drug is so powerful that it can drive you to steal money from your loved ones? This is one of the questions that ‘The Real Cost’ is asking with this campaign,” said Gary Resch, FCB New York EVP, executive creative director. “While teenagers are starting to realize the risks of vaping in very stark terms, ‘Addiction Isn’t Pretty’ seeks to amplify this change in perception and drive more provocative conversation among these at-risk kids.”

“The Real Cost,” first developed by FCB in 2014, has successfully prevented nearly 587,000 youth from smoking cigarettes. For each teen prevented from becoming a smoker, there is an estimated $180,000 in cost savings – a total of over $53 billion in future medical costs averted, to date. In 2018, FCB New York and FDA took on the challenge of launching the first national youth vaping education campaign to teach teens the “real cost” of vaping.





Kathy Crosby – Director, Office of Health Communication and Education

April Brubach – Deputy Director, Office of Health Communication and Education

Gem Benoza – Director, Division of Public Health & Education

Shay Abagat – Health Communications Specialist

Alison Kulas – Health Communications Specialist

Jasmin Bush – Health Communications Specialist


FCB New York:

Emma Armstrong – President

Gabriel Schmitt – Chief Creative Officer

Gary Resch – EVP, Executive Creative Director

James Meiser – Associate Creative Director

Tara Dobson – Associate Creative Director

Christopher Lenz – Executive Integrated Producer

Suzanne Santiago – EVP, Group Management Director

Dimas Adiwiyoto – SVP, Account Director

Mallika Rao – Account Director

Jared Shell – Account Director

Ally Morrow – Account Supervisor

Ariana Tsapralis – Account Executive

Jonathan Skewes – Account Executive

Natalie Costa – Account Executive

Logan Paul – Assistant Account Executive

Nicole Lopez – Project Manager


Park Pictures:

Katina Mercadante – Director

Jackie Kelman Bisbee & Cody Ryder – Executive Producers

Jed Hubbard – Producer

Karina Silva – DP


Nomad Editing Company:

Adam Schwartz – Editor 

John Osment – Assistant Editor 

Alex Chizhov – VFX / Finishing

Jennifer Lederman – Executive Producer 

Valerie McAndrews – Producer 


The Mill:

Damien Van Der Cruyssen – Colorist 

Megan Rumph – Color Producer 

Elias Nousiopoulos, Andrew Ceen, David Franzo, Aaliyah Lambert, Calvin Bellas – Color Assistants


Music / Mixing:

Brian Yessian – Executive Creative Director

Michael Yessian – Head of Production

Michael Dragovic – Creative Director 

Marlene Bartos – Executive Producer

Evelyn Brown – Senior Producer 

Matt Zinone – Producer

Weston Fonger – Sound Design / Mix Engineer 

Michael Dragovic – Composer



About FCB

FCB (Foote, Cone & Belding) is a global, fully integrated marketing communications company with a heritage of creativity and success dating from 1873. Based on a deeply developed understanding of diversified local markets and global cultures, FCB focuses on creating “Never Finished” campaign ideas for clients that reflect a deep understanding of the brand’s past, a respect for the present and an anticipation of the future potential. FCB’s recent accolades include 2020 PR News Top Places to Work, The One Club Creativity Top Global Network Award 2020, and 2020 Ad Age Best Places to Work. With more than 8,000 people in 109 operations in 80 countries, the company is part of the Interpublic Group of Companies (NYSE: IPG). FCB New York has helped build some of the world’s most iconic brands, like FDA’s “The Real Cost,” LG Electronics, Lincoln Financial Group, GSK and Burger King – the latter of which garnered the agency three Grands Prix (including the coveted Titanium honor) at Cannes Lions 2019. Learn more at and follow us on Instagram (@FCBNewYork), Facebook (@FCBNewYork) and LinkedIn (@FCBNewYork).