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FDA Goes Full Animal Crossing In New Anti-Smoking Campaign Ad

The FDA has ramped up its campaign against nicotine use. In response to the rising popularity of vaping among young adults, the FDA has launched "The Real Cost" campaign to educate vape users on the consequences of taking that first puff. And the FDA is well aware that it would have trouble reaching its target audience in newspaper ads or TV commercials.

So, the agency has taken an updated approach, advertising to today's youth on social media platforms such as YouTube and Twitch. Its content has also evolved, as evidenced by a recent Twitch ad that features some famous Nintendo characters. Recently, a Twitch viewer spotted a nicotine awareness ad on Twitch featuring what looked to be "Animal Crossing" characters. Although this ad is a clever way to appeal to the youth, not everyone is on board. And who can blame them? Seeing the cutesy island-loving Villager from "Animal Crossing" get attacked by a menacing fire monster is an unsettling sight, to say the least. And it turns out Nintendo didn't even sign off on it.

The Villager is addicted to nicotine

The ad was spotted on Twitch by ReimuHakureiShrine and was subsequently archived to YouTube. The video opens in an "Animal Crossing"-style bedroom, complete with furniture from the game. Standing next to the bed is an "Animal Crossing" villager swinging their hands back and forth doing the classic idle animation from the game. But as soon as the character jumps into bed for the night, the video significantly diverges from the source material.

Once the lights are off, a cloud of smoke seeps from below the bed and engulfs the room. The character responds, "Not again," as the smoke wakes them up. Then the smoke transforms into a fire monster to intimidate the Villager. After the camera pans to the Villager trembling in fear, an outro card appears with the FDA warning: "Anxiety from nicotine cravings can keep you up," alongside a link to more information on the matter.

Although this ad looks very similar to "Animal Crossing," there is no indication that it is backed by Nintendo. Instead, it was created by a third-party production company and is only in the "Animal Crossing" art style to grab the attention of the youth. This isn't the first time a government agency has advertised on Twitch, as multiple military branches have notoriously taken to the live-streaming site to recruit young adults — including a controversial return for the Army's Twitch. So, it's safe to say the government has finally pinpointed where today's youth get their entertainment.