Two Cents: A Reason to Quit

17 March 2011

This article is somewhat hard for me to write because 1. My mum doesn't know I smoke the occasional cigarette and 2. I am having to come to terms with the fact that by the time I'm 30 my tanning will make me look like Patti Newton's cleavage. Now I know smoking is bad and I know my tanorexic tendencies are sending me down a path of cancer. We've all seen the ads.

"Tell 'em the price son" ... Wait, wrong ad.

We see smokers puffing up the stairs or gazing at their happy families waiting for the impending doom. In most instances I sit there awkwardly trying to not draw attention to the fact that I am the only smoker in the room and that the ad is talking directly to me. The fact is that they are scary, powerful, well-written commercials. All around me I see the message take hold on a generation that is by nature, bloody hard to talk to. It's fantastic to see both from the perspective of a young industry hopeful and a typical gen Y skeptic.

I feel however in the past these scare tactics have had more impact on the non-smoker. I say this because smokers aren't stupid - yes, okay, we are stupid for smoking - but we also understand it's a health risk that may kill us. It's with this I want to talk about the latest smoking campaign.

Anti-Smoking Campaign

I want to applaud what is nothing short of a refreshing effective approach to anti-smoking. For the first time since I can remember, I am seeing a positive, effective smoking ad that has the smoker at heart. Nicorette and other anti-smoking products are great at taking this approach but the Government has previously not been. I am not sure if it is just a refreshing change from the years of intense and confrontational death messaging but it was the first time I was motivated to act.

I am in advertising, I'm from a world where a moisturiser is 'hydro glow infused to vitalize natural enzymes', or where a shave is like a strange water explosion punch to the face. Let's be honest, we appeal to every sense that allows us to sell as much shit as possible. Our audience for the most part, isn't naive and they know that we do what we do to get the strongest message through. 

This is a prime example of a campaign that has taken the traditional category communication and flipped it on its head – to great success. Of course that "success" is based on a sample size of one (me), but the fact remains I haven't had a cigarette since. The Federal Government are to be applauded and hopefully we will see this kind of thinking spill into their other campaigns.

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