Behaviour Change Partners creates anti-tobacco ads for use in low/middle income countries

Screen Shot 2017-06-13 at 10.53.05 AM.jpgFollowing a pitch involving agencies from four continents, Vital Strategies, a leading global health NGO, appointed Sydney's Behaviour Change Partners to develop a series of anti-smoking campaigns for low/middle income countries across the developing world.

The project is part of the Bloomberg Initiative to Reduce Tobacco Use. The agency's challenge was to deliver three hard-hitting, multi-channel campaigns (TV, digital, radio, print, outdoor and social for each) that that could be easily adapted and implemented by under-resourced health bodies anywhere in the world.

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Screen Shot 2017-06-13 at 10.55.02 AM.jpgSays Paul Fishlock, founder, Behaviour Change Partners: "It's a huge challenge, both strategically and creatively. You have to use health effects that people who've never been to school will understand, tap into primal drivers of behaviour and deliver campaigns that will motivate a factory worker in Ghana as much as a farmer in Laos."

Executionally, the need to be racially and culturally agnostic presented further challenges. Having actors talking was out of the question. What locations and backgrounds could be Bangladesh or Bolivia?  How light or dark should skin tones be? Following extensive research, The client/agency team settled on three campaigns that literally see smoking through the smoker's eyes; it proved to be a technique which not only created a consistent look and feel but enabled content to be near-universal.

In 'What damage will this cigarette do?', the everyday act of reaching for your pack links each cigarette to a different disease. In 'Coughing up Disease' each cough rattles an image of cancer, heart disease or emphysema to the screen; and in 'Living with Smoking' a man paralysed from a stroke stares at the ceiling tortured by how his smoking has made his family's tough life even tougher.

Says Fishlock: "Our experience in tobacco control (which goes back to "Every cigarette is doing you damage' in the '90s), was a double-edged sword in this project.  We had to keep reminding ourselves these ads are not for first-world markets, like Australia; they need to do very heavy lifting in some of the poorest countries on the planet; where cigarette ads are everywhere, most people smoke and there's little awareness of any health consequences beyond lung cancer."

Vital Strategies officially launched the three new campaigns on 2017 World No Tobacco Day. The first has already run in Indonesia with other low/middle income countries expected to use the new resources in the second half of this year.

Smoking remains the single biggest cause of preventable death in the world. In the 20th Century alone it took 100 million lives.

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