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MEMO/05/174

Brussels, 26 May 2005

The meaning and the making of the new EU anti-smoking TV advertisements

Aim of the campaign

Three new anti-tobacco TV advertisements constitute the second stage of the Commission’s latest anti-smoking campaign – “HELP: For a Life Without Tobacco” – following the successful launch of the road-show in March (see IP/05/225). Each advert aims to address one of the 3 prongs of the “HELP” campaign: preventing people (especially young people) from taking up smoking, helping those who already smoke to give up, and promoting tobacco-free environments to reduce the dangers of passive smoking. The adverts, which will be shown in the 25 Member States from June 7th, combine a strong anti-smoking message with advice to those seeking further information or support in the fight against tobacco.

The key target audiences for the ads are young people aged 12 to 18 and young adults aged 18 to 30. The younger of these age groups is of particular importance as 80% of smokers start the habit during their teenage years.

The party-whistle metaphor

The key objective of the advertising campaign is to use humour to highlight how ridiculous smoking really is, as well as to inform EU citizens of the various channels through which they can seek support. By substituting cigarettes with party-whistles, the adverts show the abnormality of smoking and problems it can pose in all sorts of situations. The adverts aim to make people look again at what is perceived to be a normal activity, but is in fact a deadly habit. As the aim of the “HELP” campaign is to provide support to those addicted to, vulnerable to or affected by smoking, the advertisements avoid condemnation of smokers and young people who might be tempted to start, and instead focus the ridicule on the cigarette itself. Each ad ends with a reference to “HELP” internet site and national Quitline number.

Advert 1: Peer pressure amongst teenagers

The scene is set in a school toilet, where a group of young people are seen furtively blowing the party-whistles and hiding them in a panic when a teacher appears. The accompanying message is that “sometimes we would do anything to look like our peers, even start smoking.” The party-whistle substitution shows how absurd the whole situation really is.

Advert 2: The daily life of a smoker

The advertisement follows a “party-whistle addict” through his day, showing how the addiction controls his life, from being the first thought in the morning, to an anti-social interruption at work, to a compulsory end to a meal. The voice-over states that “tobacco often makes us behave in strange ways”, which is compounded with the image of the man huddling outside in the cold or slumped on the floor, miserably blowing a party-whistle.

Advert 3: Passive smoking

The final advertisement shows a crowded party, where the use of the party-whistles by some is clearly proving to be an irritant those not using them. In this case, the whistles represent passive smoke, and the message is that “every cigarette you smoke endangers those around you”.

The production of the advertisements

The new anti-smoking adverts were filmed in Barcelona, Spain, and are the result of 3 months work by an international media team led by French communications expert Pierre Siquier and Danish film director Martin Aamund. During the production phase, the advertisements were tested on 38 focus groups in 20 European countries to ensure that the message would work and have maximum impact in all 25 Member States. The feedback from these pre-trials, in which over 400 people took part, was used to shape the campaign into one that would work effectively in all languages and throughout the EU.

For more information see also IP/05/606.

“HELP” TV advertisement campaign by Member State


1st period of broadcast
2nd period of broadcast
Channels
Estimated number
of contacts*
Austria
13/06-03/07
05/09-18/09
ORF, PRO7, VOX, RTL1, RTL2, SAT1, ATV, KABEL 1
2 776 000
Belgium (North)
06/06-19/06
05/09-18/09
TV1, Kanall2, VT4
2 531 480
Belgium (South)
06/06-19/06
05/09-18/09
RTL, La Une, La Deux, Plug TV, AB3
1 062 000
Cyprus
11/06-20/06
05/09-18/09
RIK
456 000
Czech Republic
06/06-03/07
05/09-02/10
PRIMA, CT
9 114 000
Denmark
13/06-03/07
05/09-25/09
TV2, TV3, ZULU, TVDK
3 248 000
Estonia
08/06-05/07
05/09-18/09
TV3
1 539 000
Finland
27/06-17/07
05/09-25/09
Nelonen
2 164 900
France
06/06-26/06
05/09-18/09
TF1, M6, Cable&Sat
40 041 000
Germany
13/06-10/07
05/09-02/10
N24, Pro7, Kabel 1, Sat 1
31 038 000
Greece
15/06-12/07
05/09-25/09
STAR, ALETR, ANT1
9 640 000
Hungary
06/06-26/06
05/09-25/09
TV2, Viva, MTV
6 901 000
Ireland
08/07-14/08
05/09-02/10
SKY, E4, TG4
3 175 000
Italy
06/06-18/06
05/09-19/09
C5, Discovery, All Music, R4, l1
29 000 000
Latvia
06/06-03/07
05/09-02/10
TV3, LNT
2 712 000
Lithuania
06/06-03/07
05/09-18/09
TV3
3 665 000
Luxembourg
06/06-19/06
05/09-18/09
RTL
387 000
Malta
06/06-16/06
05/09-17/09
PBS
-
Netherlands
13/06-03/07
05/09-18/09
RTL4, YORIN, SBS6, NET5, Veronica, RTL5
6 955 000
Poland
06/06-03/07
05/09-25/09
TVN, TVP1, TVP2
43 936 000
Portugal
06/06-03/07
05/09-02/10
TVI, SIC, RTP1
6 404 000
Slovakia
06/06-03/07
05/09-18/09
MARKIZA
3 902 000
Slovenia
22/06-10/07
05/09-18/09
Kanal A, Pop TV, TV Slovenia 1, TV Slovenia 2
1 421 000
Spain
06/06-03/07
05/09-25/09
Tele 5
25 723 000
Sweden
06/06-26/06
05/09-25/09
TV3, ZTV
4 559 000
UK
08/07-18/08
05/09-02/10
Multichannel, Channel 4, Five
34 933 000
Pan-European
06/06-30/06
05/09-20/09
MTV, Euronews, Eurosport
-

*Number of times the advertisements will have been viewed by an individual in the 1st broadcasting phase


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