Friday, January 10, 2014

Powerful stop smoking commercials - Creative Excellence Fridays

A very emotional stop smoking commercial was making the viral rounds earlier this week. This is the time of year when the media is inundated with stop smoking and lose weight commercials. But the formula is different now. A commercial release is simultaneously released with a viral campaign and social campaign to create as many additional impressions as possible. This commercial produced out of Singapore by Ogilvy and Mather was done originally in 2011. But it's making the rounds again and getting a fresh new life.


Another ad from NHS Smokefree in the UK features mutations on the cigarette. It is a powerful visual that stays with you.

I spared you the commercials that feature the holes in the throat, the animated recreations of what's happening in body, the lab cross sections of the lung and the brain.  As graphic as those ads are, they still have a difficult time convincing people to give up their personal right to slowly kill themselves.

As adults we tend to play off the death wish they talk about in an early episode of Madmen.   The researcher pointed out that humans revel dangerous in a bit of a death wish.  It makes them feel more dangerous and on the edge.  We're adults.  It's our bodies. We can abuse them anyway we like. The agencies who figured out that you have to think beyond your own skin are really on to something. Do it for the kids. Empathy.

Health Canada decided a few years ago to grab attention to the issue using humour. I'm not sure this will convince people to stop smoking, but it certainly makes one talk about it. And the viral on this was quite effective.

And this more recent one. The social nibbler. I love this ad.

Great writing, performance, production. This one really hits home. Credits. BBDO Toronto.

Which approach works best?  It's still not clearly defined, any more than what brand of cigarettes appeals to a consumer.  But I still think that the most effective approach is appealing to the consumer's selflessness.  Killing yourself is one thing.  But poisoning the air your children are breathing three feet away; there's nothing sexy about that.

With over 30 years experience, Tim McLarty  currently works out of Toronto Canada as a writer/voice performer, producer and media strategist producing advertising and entertainment content.

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