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CREATIVE STRATEGY: Thai children demo a radical anti-smoking strategy

To say I'm not a fan of smoking would be something of an understatement. And so I'm always on the lookout to celebrate good anti-smoking campaigns.

Thai Health Promotion Foundation: runs anti-smoking campaign

Thai Health Promotion Foundation: runs anti-smoking campaign

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Shock tactics are often the answer to this brief. And some of the imagery on fag packets around the world is something to behold. If you have a strong stomach. 

And yet even people who’ve spent their whole lives surrounded by campaigns explaining why not to smoke and how to quit still end up huddled in rain-swept doorways puffing away.

It’s particularly shocking to someone of my generation to see otherwise health-conscious younger folk with their ready supply of Marlboro Lights. 

So what if you could devise a campaign where smokers themselves could be prompted to promote the anti message?

Amazingly, this has been done, as you’ll see in this film:

It’s a simple, but highly effective idea. Children are sent out to ask smokers for a light. Without exception, the adult nicotine-addicts then launch into lectures on the evils of cigarettes.

After listening with rapt attention, the children quietly hand over a slip of paper that essentially thanks the adult for caring, but asks them why they don’t also worry about themselves.

Some people are already claiming this is the best anti-smoking ad ever.

I don’t know about that; but if the claimed 40% increase in response to the Thai Health Promotion Foundation campaign is true, then other countries should also look into this strategy. 

Simon S Kershaw is a creative consultant and a former creative director at Craik Jones

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