Jul 18, 2012 - Creative Wednesday    No Comments

What Would Make You Stop Smoking?

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Smoking is one of the problems that give birth to hundreds of campaigns every year. And, paradoxically enough, it almost looks like the more this problem is being campaigned against, the more people you see on the streets lighting a cigarette. So, what’s wrong? Is the vice so big that nothing seems to scare us more than the though of not being able to light another cigarette? Are there so many problems in the world that lighting a cigarette seems to be the least of our concerns? Are the campaigns not good enough? Why don’t we stop smoking?

Cigarettes are one of the few products that don’t need to be advertised to be bought. Quite the contrary. Although, there are all sorts of campaigns against them, they never get outdated. Scary messages and horrifying pictures on the packs have almost no impact on the smoker. We complain about the price, but still spend more on a pack than on a meal. You would think that forbidding smoking in public places would reduce the number of smokers. But, instead, you see them gathered in front of the restaurant, freezing to death, but still smoking. Nicotine patches, electronic cigarettes…nothing seems to work. Is there no hope to stop smoking, or the right incentive hasn’t come up yet?

Lately, two campaigns caught my attention. And I was particularly impressed that they weren’t grotesque and disgusting.   I hate seeing dying people on packs of cigarettes. Or people with malformations. Underdeveloped children, and grey lungs. In my opinion, this is the easiest way to make a campaign. Just add a couple of shocking images, a morbid text, and get a campaign that makes everybody burst into tears. Minus the smokers.

Well, these campaigns are something more than that. One of them got extremely viral, so you probably know it by now. It was created by Ogilvy Asia for the Thai Health Promotion Foundation, and it presents kids asking smokers for a lighter. The plot is smart, it’s got nothing visually disgusting, and it’s got a twist that actually makes the campaign cross your mind at least the first time you prepare to light a cigarette after watching it.

The other campaign I particularly liked is not as viral as the previous one. But the ad is so great that it gave me goosebumps without even seeing it. One of my friends vividly described it to me, and as soon as I got home, I had to see it for myself. The campaign was created by Everest Brand Solutions for the Cancer Patients Aid Association, and no matter how big of a smoker you are, could you light a cigarette in a room that had the ceiling painted like this?


Don’t worry, I’m not getting my hopes up. At this point, you probably won’t stop smoking just because you’ve seen a couple of great campaigns. Nor because the pack of cigarettes you have on the table has cost you a small fortune. Nor because tonight, when you’re going out with your friends, you’ll have to smoke outside. Nor because your voice has gone pretty hoarse the last couple of months.

But wait a minute, if all these things don’t make us stop smoking, what would?


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