Everyone knows that smoking is dangerous, but not many smokers succeed to give up smoking. Many anti-smoking campaigns were created, some more successful than others. Even more studies exist to prove the ads’ effectiveness or the lack of it.
Photo source: livescience
There is no certain answer about what makes an ad be effective, and research conclusions are sometimes contradictory. Glenn Leshner, a University of Missouri researcher says that anti-smoking commercials are more effective when they speak about a health threat, or show a disgusting images. Daniel D. Langleben, M.D. and psychiatrist at the Center for Studies of Addiction at Penn Medicine identified that anti-smoking commercials with strong arguments raise more awareness than shocking ads with clever tricks.
Hye-Jin Paek, assistant professor at the UGA Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication discovered that many ads have a contrary effect for youth. The ads stimulate their curious nature and make them try. She says that a solution might be ads that don’t try to convince individuals to avoid tobacco, but try to change the social norms surrounding smoking.
We have searched the web and created a collection with 8 memorable anti-smoking commercials that seem memorable to us as they use many of the things that are considered effective for awareness raising: dramatic stories, arguments, or disgusting images. Some of the ads are quite new, others much older.
1. CDC: Tips from Former Smokers – Terrie’s Ad
This is a graphic anti-smoking ad launched by the Centers for Disease Control and funded by the USA government. It seems that the the disturbing images of Terrie have inspired many people to quit smoking. 500,000 people have tried to quit and 50,000 renounced for long-term, follow-up reports show.
2. My wife was my life
This is one of that kind of anti-smoking commercials that uses a strong emotional argument. The dialogues which the old man remembers are very common in real life. The scenario of loosing a beloved person can at least make smokers wonder about the effects of their vice.
3. Anti-smoking in restaurants
A funny ad that gives in a very authentic way an explanation for restaurants being smoke-free. Definitely, this one is memorable.
4. The blackened tar-soaked sponge
A powerful visual analogy between a sick lung and a clogged sponge is easy to remember and can make smokers thing more about their vice.
5. The most frequent excuses smokers make
This ad gathered some of the most common excuses that smokers make about quitting, and offers in the same time the possible consequences on not quitting.
6. Kids ask for smoke
This is a very clever campaign created by Thai Health Promotion Foundation. Two kids asking for a smoke is a really shocking image and maybe the best to make people think on smoking consequences.
7. Return the favor
This ad has an authentic comic approach over the smoking danger. Although it is a very old ad, the message is still very actual: smoking is a danger for non smokers.
8. Smokers live less
Another old, but wise anti-smoking commercial. Smoking is seen as a mistake that came from recklessness and smokers must be just pitied. This bus scene is indeed memorable.
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