The Ontario Ministry of Health’s current $2.7 million anti-smoking campaign is called Quit the Denial, with the goal of cheekily reminding people that “social smoking” is still smoking nonetheless, with videos in both official languages.
Two video ads compare “social smoking” to social farting. The first of those has received attention from all over the world. Uploaded to YouTube on March 11, the English version now has over one million views.
Reactions have been mixed. It’s made people think. It’s outraged some and amused others. CNN’s Erin Burnett mused that it “might be the best public service announcement you’ll ever see.”
The first social farting ad ends with the words “Social smoking is as ridiculous as social farting.” In the sequel, our social farter quits and the ad directs social smokers to resources to help them quit, too. Both ads direct viewers to the Quit The Denial Facebook campaign page. The page currently has 4,100+ likes.
The campaign message from Facebook:
Social nibbling, social farting, and social earwax picking are as ridiculous as social smoking. Research shows that almost 2/3 of young people who finish just one cigarette will become daily smokers.
The campaign also includes videos about social earwax picking (the English version currently at 51, 500+ views) and two about social nibbling (56,300+ & 500+ views). As hilarious as I think farts are, I think that the two ads about “social nibbling” are the funniest of the bunch.
Watch all the videos here.
In a completely different video campaign that compares smoking to farting that was uploaded to YouTube a year ago, two men are sitting at a bar. One with an empty plate in front of him sits smoking next to another man eating a plate of food with a glass of wine in front of him. He shifts in his seat, and then toots. “Luckily second hand smokers are still asking politely,” is the message superimposed on the screen as the wind-blowing man smiles in amusement. As the words “Please don’t smoke in enclosed spaces” pop up, smoker stands up to leave while his friend flashes an expression that one could interpret as, You asked for it.
An ad called Smoking Kid – created for the Thai Health Promotion Foundation by Ogilvy Asia last year – went viral and resulted in a 40% increase in phone inquiries by smokers wanting to quit. It shows children approaching smoking adults to ask for a light. Refusals to the children’s requests are interspersed with campaign messaging. Refusals include: “Smoking is bad, you have to stop,” and, “You look old when you smoke,” and, “If you smoke you die faster. Don’t you want to live and play?” Campaign messaging includes, “Adults know that smoking is harmful but don’t remind themselves of this fact,” and, “Every adult filmed reminded the children that smoking is bad,” and, “But did they forget something themselves?”
After being refused a light for their cigarettes, the children then hand the adult a note that reads, “You worry about me. But why not about yourself? Reminding yourself is the most effective warning to help you quit.” Watch the video to find out what happened next…
What type of anti-smoking campaigns do you like? Do you have a favourite?