GRSJ 300 Culture Jam Assignment

Juul is an electronic cigarette company that has profited off promoting nicotine addiction in youths for many years. In 2015, Juul launched a “Vaporized” campaign which included ads showing young adults posing and having fun while holding Juuls. The colorful patterns and choice of models made it obvious that these ads were targeting a younger demographic. Furthermore, Juul’s sudden rise in popularity among young people was kickstarted when they took to social media to market their product. They created hashtags that “influencers blasted out to their followings, often featuring images of young people Juuling, or doing tricks or jokes with their device” [1].  In this specific ad, they have shown a young man casually holding a Juul while striking a pose. This kind of marketing attempts to incorporate the use of Juuls into youth culture by attempting to associate Juuls with being “cool”.

Apart from the advertisements and social media influence, the look and feel of the Juul also adds to its appeal to the younger generation. Juuls are made to look like flash drives and they have a “high tech feel and appearance”. Their small size and low amount of released vapor makes them easy to hide. Kids and teenagers have used this to their advantage by Juuling in classrooms [2].

Despite having a young target audience, Juul makes no obvious effort to warn young people of the potential dangers that come with purchasing their products. Since vape products such as Juul are still relatively new to the market, there has not been enough research done to find conclusive evidence on the harms of using these products. This means that it is possible that using Juuls could have severe long-term effects on its users. Furthermore, “the FDA does not currently require e-cigarette manufacturers to stop using potentially harmful substances” [2], so the harms of this product could be much worse than Juul users think. Juul also fails to bring up important precautionary facts when they are marketing such as that Juuls have “significantly higher amount of nicotine per puff than some other types of e-cigarettes and cigarettes” [2].

In the jammed version of Juul’s advertisement, my goal was to show the reality of their marketing scheme. I started off by adding text below the logo. The text reads “Glorifying nicotine addiction since 2015”. This line aims to highlight, what seems to be, Juuls mission statement since the beginning of the company and their “Vaporized” campaign. Though the original intent of vaping was to serve as an alternative to cigarettes for people with nicotine addiction, Juuls marketing has made vaping become a gateway to smoking cigarettes instead. “A 2017 study found that non-smoking adults were four times more likely to start smoking traditional cigarettes after only 18 months of vaping, which includes ‘juuling’” [3]. Furthermore, while Juul claims it helps smokers quit, flavored pods also lure young people with flavors such as mango and cucumber. According to the Surgeon General, “85% of e-cigarette users ages 12 to 17 use flavors” [4].

Next, I changed the picture on the right to that of an underaged teenager using a Juul to show a more realistic depiction of the audience that Juul is marketing towards. I then changed the message that was written on top of the picture. What originally read “Vaporized” now reads “Victimized”. This message refers to the picture of the teenager to show how Juul took advantage of teenagers’ impressionable nature and need for fitting in. They played these traits to their advantage so that they could benefit from harming the quality of life of young people.


[1] Belluz, Julia (2019). The vape company Juul said it doesn’t target teens. Its early ads tell a different story.  https://www.vox.com/2019/1/25/18194953/vape-juul-e-cigarette-marketing

[2] Simon, Stacy (2018). JUUL E-cigarettes and Youth: What You Need to Know. https://www.cancer.org/latest-news/juul-e-cigarettes-and-youth-what-you-need-to-know.html

[3]  Fraga, John-Anthony (2019). The Dangers of Juuling. http://www.center4research.org/the-dangers-of-juuling/

[4] Chaykowski, Kathleen (2018). The Disturbing Focus Of Juul’s Early Marketing Campaigns. https://www.forbes.com/sites/kathleenchaykowski/2018/11/16/the-disturbing-focus-of-juuls-early-marketing-campaigns/#4350a9ea14f9