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M&C Saatchi turn the clocks back for smokers

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To coincide with the end of daylight savings on Sunday, which saw the clocks in the UK set back an hour, M&C Saatchi Sydney has created a new campaign for QUIT, the anti-smoking charity, which revolves around a website that can give smokers a rough estimate of how many more hours of life they could potentially gain if they quit smoking for good. The campaign hinges on the powerful image of a clock face with the hands replaced by cigarettes and the straightforward slogan “Tonight you get one hour back. Quit and you'll get years back.”

A new campaign for QUIT, the anti-smoking charity, gives smokers a rough estimate of how many more hours of life they could potentially gain if they quit smoking for good

The campaign has also been backed by an extensive print rollout in most of the UK's major newspapers, online and social media components and out of home executions, including a giant billboard promoting the campaign, which ran on Saturday evening and Sunday morning in Piccadilly Circus. The main draw of the campaign is to direct smokers towards the website, which allows smokers to type in their age, when they started smoking and how many they smoke per day and get an instant estimate of how many years they could potentially “Get back” if they quit. For example, if I were to stop smoking, as a 28 year old man who smokes around 10 cigarettes a day and has been doing so for 5 years, I would apparently get an extra 4 years of life! A pretty compelling argument.

Andi Osho – Stoptober Diary – Day 27

Glyn McIntosh, chief executive of QUIT, thought it was a “Genius idea from the guys at M&C Saatchi Sydney to link quitting with the end of Daylight Savings” because “It’s an event that effects everyone living in the UK.” He believed the timing of the campaign (no pun intended) allowed them to get “Enormous awareness and traction” behind the cause, which aims to reveal “The ultimate benefit of not smoking.” Of course, the campaign also ties in with the NHS campaign “Stoptober,” a national stop smoking (or drinking depending on your proclivities) initiative running throughout the month of October. To promote Stoptober, comedian Andi Osho has uploaded a daily video diary detailing her own struggles with quitting, the latest of which can be seen above.

Glyn McIntosh, chief executive of QUIT, believed the timing of the campaign (no pun intended) allowed them to get “Enormous awareness and traction” behind the cause

M&C Saatchi Sydney creative director Ant Melder added “The clocks going back is always seen as something of a negative, after all it signals the start of winter,” but underlines how “The reality is that everyone gets an hour back, an extra hour to sleep in, to play with your kids, to do whatever you want.” He thought linking that concept and that idea to “The time smokers would get back to do all those things if they quit their deadly habit” was a “Brutally simple” and compelling idea. The work was written by Ben Stainley, with art direction by Brian Jefferson. Media, meanwhile, was handled by Clear Channel and Storm Digital.

Benjamin Hiorns is a freelance writer and musician from Kidderminster in the UK who has spent the last couple of hours seriously questioning his own bad habits as a result of this article.

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