US outrage as Aussie QUIT executive director admits child in anti-smoking spot shed real tears

Picture 142.pngQuit Victoria and the makers of a controversial anti-smoking commercial now running in New York City let a 4-year-old boy lose sight of his mother so that he would cry on camera, according to the US Today Show. But they insist that the child was not harmed and the child's anxiety lasted a matter of only a few seconds.
The original commercial, via The Campaign Palace, Melbourne, caused a similar storm of controversy (including 87 comments on the CB Blog) when it was released in October last year.

Agency: The Campaign Palace, Melbourne
Creatives: The Campaign Palace, Melbourne
Director: Sean Meehan
Production Company: Soma Films

45 Comments

Anonymous said:

Holy Jesus. It seems there are quite a few seriously dangerous stories on here in the last few ways. Can we please all start to act with a conscience? We have seen some nice work over the last few months, even some really gold class stuff that Australia should be proud of but the last few stories are quite scary. Dubai needs a serious audit. The Lynx Awards is very bad for the industry at the moment and maybe shouldn't exist all. DDB's Press Release about restructuring during growth is just downright wrong, even if the intentions were good. God, it's just a terrible press release. And now we are making children cry?

I love this business. I love the people. I love the creativity and I love the freedom to be me. But this is sad.

Let's start being good people. What do you say?

Anonymous said:

There is no point bringing up all the old points about the ad. That discussion is well in the past. This is about the Amercicans attacking someone from Quit. I had a quick read of the news site and a it seems to be equal for and against. Good on Quit for having their work used over in New York.

Anonymous said:

Lynchy, can you please change the headline to the story to, "Ad actually gets noticed".

15 pages of comments on the TV shows site says to me 1 thing "Fucking great ad Pat and Co"

Anonymous said:

the weird thing is the kid looks like he is acting. I wonder if they put out the press release to say it was real tears to make some noise around the campaign?

anyways, if someone stops smoking, a few crocodile tears won't hurt.

Mark said:

My kids cry when they can't watch TV, when they have to go to bed, when one finishes their lollies before the other one, when the wake up, when they have to clean up, when I go to work, when they have a baby sitter, when they can't have a toy, when they fall over, when we run out of their favorite cereal. When ever. It's water off a ducks back for parents and kids. But the most I've ever seen them cry is when their granddad died from smoking, not because they realised they were never going to see him again, but because my wife and I smoke and it would be us next. Get over it, I'm sure the kid has.

Count said:

If only a few scary moments for one child equates the greatest number of calls to QUIT the day after it debuted, (including new years day) I think everyone should be focusing on the greater good. As Mark 5:18pm eluded, kids cry all the time whenever something doesn't go their way. I know my little nephew throws a fit whenever he doesn't get to watch Dora the Explorer.

Sometime down the track, this kid can look back and be proud to be part of a campaign that will inevitably saving lives. Well done Pat and Beans and good luck in the upcoming shows.

Anonymous said:

Ahhh, dedicated advertising people, so caught up in their own self worth they must resort to torturing kids to get their gods gift to advertising through....why not just give the child a good beating to "get the shot"....that's the way!, then they'ld have a greater chance at getting the golden shiny trinkets that boost their frail ego's.

Anonymous said:

I think there's an enormous difference between letting a child lose sight of his mother and beating him - don't you, 12:01?

The question is, did the kid's mother consent to the ruse? If so, as I'm sure she did, it's hardly a problem.

Anonymous said:

Sorry but I have a question that is not related to this particular headline.

A while back somebody posted a link to a website that offered various advertising/communications training courses. Does anyone know what the website was? It is not the AFA site. One of the courses was for selling creative work. Thanks

Anonymous said:

I can't believe the bullshit PR people can't see through. Of course it wasn't real, they're just trying to get more attention for their ad.

It's called advertising, silly.

Anonymous said:

Surely the US has more to worry about at present than a child crying.

Anonymous said:

Lighten the fuck up.

Seven multiple gun murders in seven days and the Americans are "outraged" by this .
There's some perspective, hey?

Anonymous said:

Dear 12.01 you're PC moron with no sense of proportion - just fuck off and read some other blog if you find us so offensive.

Anonymous said:

I'm from NSW, if we did this on a shoot and Child Welfare found out about it - as they would, your agency would be banned from using kids again. If this is spin - I would shutup about it as the VIC child welfare won't look upon this the same way as the advertising fraternity.

When you film kids and issue based advertising there does need to be some leeway. I hope a councillor was employed to work with the child afterward.

Kids are not actors they don't give a shit about the money.

Anonymous said:

You can tell the bloggers that don't have kids.

Anonymous said:


Can I just say, categorically, that this ad put the final nail in my smoking coffin.

Five weeks without a cigarette now, and all it takes when the addiction kicks back in is to think about my own kid in tears.

So, yes, a few seconds of tears for the little boy, but the ad probably stopped my habit.

Fucking hell eh?

Congrats Palace, I owe you - a few years of my life probably.

Anonymous said:

Political correctness, is the death of powerful and often effect communication.
How sad.

Anonymous said:

I can't bear to watch it now. What mother would let their child suffer that? How could you film it? Heartless assholes shouldn't be allowed to work with kids.

Anonymous said:

Dear 9.49
You haven't got your shiny golden trinket yet have you.

To 2.15
You don't see a problem with mummy letting little Timmy feel abandoned to the point of tears to make a buck, oh and gods gift to advertising? Let's hope you don't breed. It's not PC bullshit it's called good parenting... idiot.

Anonymous said:

10.41
'often effect communication'
- classic.

Anonymous said:


Does anyone here have the faintest idea about what it actually is that we do?

Stop whining about a well-paid kid actor crying for a few minutes.

That's nothing.

We sell beer to people who crash their cars and beat the shit out of their wives.

We (used to sell) fags to anyone who'd listen.

We sell the dream of a perfect body to women with image issues.

We sell interest free terms to the poor so they can get that plasma they've always wanted and then get smacked with a 25% interest rate.

We sell burgers to children, pizza to families, microwave meals as a 'healthy alternative.'

We sell gas-guzzling family wagons to housewives so they can drive little Jack to school whilst driving the planet to the edge of extinction.

We're bad.

We sell bad things to gullible people.

Stop whining or fuck off out of advertising.

You'll get paid a shit load less but you'll sleep at night.

Anonymous said:

Even I cry when I don't get to watch Dora the Explorer.

Anonymous said:

1.03

Great idea! we could make children cry to sell all of that stuff!

Anonymous said:


'You can tell the bloggers that don't have kids'


I've got kids. I reckon it's great. So don't go talking on my behalf.

Anonymous said:

1.03

I'm working on a Charity right now and i don't feel like a bad person. Oh yeah, and no children or animals need be harmed in the creation of the work.

Maybe you're having an attack of the guilts.


Ads don't hurt people, people making ads hurt people :)

Anonymous said:

It is an ad. That is all and it didn't even make best ads. That sums it up.
Do some work people.

Anonymous said:

Why you would put a 4 year old through torture for this average script I don't know?

Double Standards Police said:

So, it's ok to video kids injuring themselves, getting attacked by pets, beating each other up, falling into things or being taken by surprise (and often balling their eyes out) and then entering the footage into AUSTRALIA'S FUNNIEST HOME VIDEOS.

But it's not Ok to video a 4yo boy crying because he has temporarily lost sight of his mum in a crowd for the purpose of TRYING TO PREVENT PEOPLE KILLING THEMSELVES WITH CIGARETTES.

I'm happy to ban the cigarette ad if Funniest Home Videos gets the boot too.

Anonymous said:

I'd like to party with 1.03, that dude knows the deal fo-sho.
Together, we could kick all your faggidy ass asses.
And that whiny kids.

Anonymous said:

Just once on this blog I'd love someone to say that they can see both sides of the issue and just leave it at that. Why do we all feel the need to become dumb-arse shock jocks, outraged over this or that? There are compelling arguments both ways. Well intentioned, intelligent people could quite reasonably disagree over this spot. Absolute truth in advertising doesn't exist.

And feel free to disagree with me.

Anonymous said:

I disagree.

Anonymous said:

I can see both sides of the issue.

Both sides of the issue here said:

.... actually, I lied.

Anonymous said:

5:12
The "strong man" of advertising

Anonymous said:

The ad was effective wasn't it, job done, not to mention lots of PR, kids cry all the time. Get over it.

Anonymous said:

Brilliant spot, incredibly emotive and gets a reaction, which is the goal. Congrats!

God some of you people are pathetic. There was even a child psychologist on set to ensure the kid was okay, or more likely, to appease all you whinging buggers. Kids cry, kids cry non stop and if you really think that the filming of this spot would have affected the kid, why don't you roll your children up into cotton wool their whole life and when they pop there heads out as adults, they'll be the social retards of the future that you obviously are today!

Anonymous said:

So it's okay for the US to torture and bomb kids but not okay for us to make one cry.

Doug said:

how come your all so brave (and anonymous) with your opinions ?

Anonymous said:

Great debate but the truth can't be ignored. The small child trusted an adult. He didn't ask to be in the ad. He couldn't give a shit about what the ad was for. He wasn't an actor - he was tricked. He was used and abused. The creatives responsible should be hanging their heads in shame. They can justify it anyway they like - saving lives, he only cried for a moment, he'll get over it...however you cut it they are all excuses for writing a cheap stunt which depends entirely on a small child's grief. Nice one assholes. What have you done lately? Nothing most likely.

Ben said:

Go it alone Beans - you know, I know, we all know....

Pat said:

I hate kids so I love this ad.

Anonymous said:

Doug, can you reason that people don't have much time to waste by filling out names and email addresses?

we shouldn't make kids cry. we should ban cigarette smoking and make those dumb adults cry instead.

Gus said:

An adult crying in an airport looking around lost because they left their duty free carton of ciggies on the plane.

Now why don't Quit film that one?

Anonymous said:

I prefer the good old days when we just put electric wires round the kid's toes and flicked a switch to make them cry. This psychological stuff is pure evil.

Anonymous said:

This kid who cried to save lives will probably go on to become a movie star.
Come on, you know this is true.

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