Life. It’s worth sticking around for.
One Londoner goes in a store for a ciggy packet, shells out the pounds and leaves. He strolls a bit, past shop windows, thinking about his sickly girl, but mostly about the ill economy. He nabs his lighter and then the packet. In the characteristic way smokers do before lighting a fag, he gawks at the gloss of the packet. There’s something different about it, he thinks. Suddenly it hits him like a zillion nicotine patches: That’s an image of a heart being taken out.
Last October, cigarette packets all over the United Kingdom began to be manufactured with the grotesquenesses. Emblazoned on them are images, fifteen in all, showing surgical operations underway on fated hearts and lungs. UK’s health department have earlier been impressed with text warnings on smoking-related diseases, credited for swaying 90,000 people into seeking help. Some tougher love is in order this time, although the new packets won’t be available until all previous stock are distributed.
Smoking kills six times more Britons than AIDS, accidents, murder and suicide altogether. Civic leaders have repeatedly fallen back on scare tactics to stave off the habit. Granted, the use of graphic images is new to the UK, but the drill is getting flashier. At long last, someone figured out a more understated way about it.
Not only did agency Saatchi & Saatchi X pass on clichés but it also outright eschewed the visuals. This campaign, in effect outdoors around London throughout January 2009, relies singly on the written word.
Rather than being an encore of anything, this outdoor campaign doesn’t connote death; the erstwhile text warnings were never about life anyway. Ant Melder wrote the copy, the bulk of which consists of fictional conversations concerning old people just beginning to experience life’s joys.
Now his are hardly sob stories, nor are they vapid pep talks. One of the ads reads as septuagenarians just planning to marry. And there’s the man becoming grandpa for the first time. In another execution, a publisher calls a woman to inform her that her book is seeing print, after four decades in the back burner. There’s also the old man hearing his son was about to play football with the Hammers. Sniff, sniff.
Each execution tapers to an inspirational “life….sticking around for” line—it could have been an ad for suicide—and an invitation to phone 0800 002200.
“Quitline,” as the hotline is called, leads to QUIT, an anti-smoking nonprofit. QUIT paid for the ads to appear, aptly, on cigarette bins. Furnished by London’s Adbins, the giant ashtrays are projected to seize the attention of smokers around the same time they would make their first puff.
Somehow, all these is supposed to consolidate efforts by the British government to curb smoking. A smoking ban has been in effect in the UK since July 2007.
Advertising Agency: Saatchi & Saatchi X, London, UK
Creative Director: Emma Perkins
Art Director: Seamus Higgins, Roger Kennedy
Copywriter: Ant Melder