Over decades, huge sums of money have been thrown at branding cigarettes. From the Marlboro man to Edward Bernays' cynical exploitation of the feminist movement to promote smoking among women, smoking was long sold as something cool and liberating.
Smoking may have lost its appeal among younger generations, but vaping has taken its place. It's no longer film stars that make the product look desirable but Instagram content creators using aerosol trails for atmospheric photos. Most branding for products to quit has always been terribly staid in comparison. But Blip looks delightfully different – and more like something you would find in a confectionery store than at a chemists (see our pick of the best new logos for more branding inspiration)
Nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) is nothing new. Lozenges and gums have been around for decades. However, they've often been sold as something practical but boring; a medical product rather than something that's cool to use.
That makes them unlikely to appeal to increasing numbers of young people that use electronic cigarettes. Many apparently don't even realise that such products developed for smokers can also help for vaping. Blip is taking a very different approach. Perhaps inspired by the same fruity flavours that have helped make vaping popular among young people, it wants to make quitting hip.
The brand was co-founded by Brian Bordainick and Julie Schott, who have form in this area from their work on the acne patches Starface, the emergency contraceptive Julie and the skincare slugging brand Futurewise. For this venture, they're joined by the Korean American model Josephine Lee, better known as Princess Gollum as creative director, and Alyson Lord as president.
"We saw a major opportunity to create a brand that empowers people to truly own and be proud of their quitting journey," Bordainick says. "The traditional smoking cessation category felt outdated, from how the products show up on shelves to the holistic customer experience after purchase. We're excited to help rejuvenate a category and bring positive experiences."
Lee says the idea emerged when she was working with Schott on a shoot for Starface when she mentioned the difficulty she was having herself in quitting nicotine. From there, they duo began hatching plans to shake up a stagnant sector that's often failed to make a connection with customers. It's a similar approach to what Bordainick and Schott did with Starface and Julie, appealing to a new generation with much more visceral branding.
And the branding is genuinely quite edgy. The tagline is "Die Another Way." Not something you's expect to see on an OTC health product, and there's a heavy dose of attitude and double entendres going on “Blip gets you off").
The visual branding has a bold, colourful neon 80s arcade game feel to it that makes quitting smoking (or vaping) actually look fun. It has a slightly retro-futurist feel, and there's no lecturing but there's a support network on the chat app Geneva. It's a massive deviation from the usual branding of NRT products. And it's particularly suited to TikTok, a platform known for its dance videos and optical illusions.