CVS Health ‘The Last Pack’ Case Study

CVS Health was the first national pharmacy chain to stop selling cigarettes, replacing them with ‘The Last Pack’: a step-by-step guide to quit smoking.


CNN:  “CVS just announced it will no longer sell cigarettes and tobacco products.”

NBC Nightly News:  “CVS has stopped selling cigarettes.”

Larry Merlo, CVS Health President and CEO:  “We’re the first national pharmacy chain to take that important step. Somebody had to be first, and we’re proud to say it was us.”

Narrator:  “As a health company, CVS didn’t just want to take cigarettes out of their stores, they wanted to help people take them out of their lives, so we created The Last Pack.”

CVS Customers:  “Well, it looks and feels like a pack of cigarettes.  Oh, cool. It helps you quit.”

Narrator:  “The pack contains a step-by-step guide to quit smoking that gives people support and points them to resources like free assessments and cessation programs covered by their insurance. To help kick the addiction, we included coupons for nicotine replacement products and some other fun stuff like a book of puzzles and games so people could distract themselves when they felt the urge. While smoking is social, quitting is lonely, so we created a social program called #OneGoodReason to help people engage their social networks to get more support. We replaced the cigarettes in all 7800 of our stores with The Last Pack and also gave them out at a launch event in New York.”

CVS Customers:  “I think this is a great idea.  This is actually really amazing.”

Narrator:  “Major news outlets covered the story. We were saluted by numerous celebrities and political figures, including the first lady, Michelle Obama. Thousands posted on social media, saying things like this…”

Aaron Evans, CVS Customer:  “Been tobacco free for four weeks thanks to CVS and #TheLastPack. Here’s to another four weeks!”

Narrator:  “The Last Pack became so popular that we even got a special request from the U.S. Congress for 2,000 packs to use in meetings with influencers, but most importantly we gave thousands of people around the country the last pack they’ll ever need.”

Related Materials

CVS Health 'The Last Pack' Campaign

CVS Health ‘Last Pack’ Campaign Tactics and Results

This alternate version of the CVS Health “Last Pack’ Case Study focuses more on the campaign’s tactics and results:

Reported tactics and results:

  • “Visitors to CVS stores found that instead of cigarettes behind the counter, now there was this: The Last Pack, a free quit kit filled with tips and resources to help kick the habit.”
  • “…We put out our last cigarette in a big way: a 50-foot-tall mechanical cigarette in New York’s Bryant Park that extinguished itself throughout the day.”
  • “Street teams handed out last packs along with another cigarette-sized package that actually contained birthday candles, one for each year of life gained by not smoking.”
  • “We invited America to share their one good reason to live tobacco-free, not just in the park but across the web. Our war room team responded to posts with custom animated gifs created in real time, making us a trending topic with over 50,000 tweets, plus thousands of posts to Facebook and Instagram on just the first day.”
  • “Some (customers) said the campaign inspired them to quit smoking or challenged CVS’s competitors to follow their lead, or declared they were switching their business to CVS.”
  • “We also debuted gripping documentaries of former smokers who found their one good reason to quit.”
  • “We targeted influencers with national TV, spreads in major newspapers, airport terminal takeovers, digital, and more, showing all the ways CVS Health is tackling serious issues.”
  • “With over 85 original articles in top-tier media outlets, and over 200 million social media impressions, by the end of a single day America was looking at CVS Health in a whole new light.”

Michelle Obama #OneGoodReason

CVS Health Case Study Results

CVS Health Rebranding Commercial

The rebranding commercial, called We Wish, features ‘The Last Pack’ cause marketing:

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