CASE STUDY 1: Native Quitline


In a 2-phase approach, Buffalo Nickel Creative (BNC) helped increase awareness and social media engagement of The Oregon Health Authority’s (OHA) Native Quit Line, a phone service to help Native Americans in the state quit the use of commercial tobacco.


OHA’s Native Quit Line wasn’t gaining the traction or awareness desired, with very few calls into the line.

Evaluation of the case

Health messaging, especially when it comes to smoking prevention and cessation, can be tough to get across. People know what they need to do to better their health habits, but sometimes it takes more than a simple ad telling them what they should and shouldn’t do.


BNC’s approach was to use storytelling as a connector. Stories connect us. They help us see the world through someone else’s eyes and give us courage to take action. Not only did BNC use storytelling, but also storytelling from the very people within each of the target audiences’ communities. We also wanted to avoid fear-based messaging while emphasizing a more inspirational, triumphant tone.

The Native Quit Line campaign was created in conjunction with and with the approval of the Tribes who live in the state of Oregon—the Burns Paiute Tribe; Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation; Confederated Tribes of the Coos, Siuslaw and Lower Umpqua Indians; Coquille Indian Tribe; Cow Creek Band of Umpqua Tribe of Indians; Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde; Klamath Tribes; and Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs—along with the organizations Native American Youth and Family Center (NAYA), NARA, Chemawa Health Center and the Northwest Portland Area Indian Health Board (NPAIHB).

Phase 1 of the campaign included unique materials and stories for each Tribe, featuring Tribal members encouraging others to quit or prevent commercial tobacco use. Some of the materials created were posters, brochures, mini-documentary videos, social media posts, web assets, and more that featured and spotlighted Tribe—and Tribal Community Member-specific photography and personal stories.

Phase 2 of the campaign included a social media Influencer marketing campaign. BNC partnered with about 8-10 Native American Influencers in Oregon and had them post Native Quitline assets we created. We also partnered with and had them boost Facebook Posts targeted to Oregon, place an ad in their dedicated Newsletter, add a website banner, and post Instagram Stories and Posts.

Honor the Sacred

Campaign Highlights

  • All influencers achieved very high engagement rates between 7% – 88% (Instagram feed posts) | Exceeding our campaign goal of 5%
  • Instagram campaign Reach exceeded 35,000
  • Partnership with NBC’s “Rutherford Falls” actress, Jana Schmieding who posted Native Quitline assets to her personal Instagram account
  • delivered exceptional results with a reach exceeding 48,000

While we weren’t provided actual numbers, we were informed by our contacts at the Native Quitline that website visits and phone calls did increase during the campaign’s duration.


BNC’s recommendation was to spotlight the people in the Tribal communities who had direct experience with quitting commercial tobacco use, knew friends and family who had struggled with tobacco addiction, or had strong feelings and reasons for never smoking in the first place. The target audience was able to see people like themselves, and in some cases, people they personally knew and recognized, deliver the message. This made all the difference in the world by making the message more relatable and making it hit home.