This morning I read a great article by Matt Creamer of Advertising Age that gives some pretty compelling evidence that despite the fact that spending against anti-smoking ads have been in free fall since the mandated funding of the American Legacy Foundation “Truth” campaign by the big four tobacco companies concluded in 2003. Not only do the ads work but there is measurable savings in media costs to the tune of $1.9 billion in averted costs against $324 million in ad spending according to a cost-utility analysis done on the Truth campaign between 2000 and 2002 by the American Journal of Preventive Medicine. A six to one ROI is a pretty great ratio.
I could argue that smoking has been “de-normalized” in our culture pretty significantly over the past 15 years or so in ways that have nothing to do with advertising. The abolishing of smoking in numerous states and provinces across the U.S. and Canada, restaurants in states that do still support smoking indoors like Louisiana don’t offer the same amount of smoking sections they once did. Leaving smokers to brave the cold for their nicotine fixes (in the colder climates), huddled together in doorways like refugees. The stigma of smoking in 2012 is pretty palpable yet academic research proves that smoking rates don’t go down in the absence of anti-smoking ads. It turns out we need to be reminded of how stupid we are in the face of the facts, day-in and day-out, to get us to quit in higher numbers. The specter of death, cancer and harming our children with our second hand smoke is just not enough. Kooky.
One of the points Creamer touches on is taking the fight against smoking on a local level. States like Kentucky (a major producer of tobacco) post among the highest smoking rates in the U.S. yet have a relatively tiny budget to counter it. It seems pretty intuitive that general nationalized creative will not have the same impact on people in different geographical, demographic and social environments. It thinking like this that has prompted Kentucky to develop state specific creative via Doe Anderson, Louisville.
Creamer is predicting that 2012 will see another eclipse of anti-smoking ads by the Center from Disease Control and the Food and Drug Administration reinforcing the message that Smoking is really, really, REALLY, bad for you. I’m looking forward to see what shape these ads take. Based on my experience and watching at least the digital space mature and become more targeted, I’m anxious to see whether these new campaigns can improve on the performance of the past.
If you liked this article, you should also check out:
Does Anti-Smoking Advertising Remind us to Smoke?
Anti-Smoking Campaigns Work, So Don't Quit Now
By Matt Creamer
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Chris Patheiger is a Vice President of Business Development at Redux Media, a leading international online publisher network of top-quality, specialty websites and media representation firms. Chris is responsible for Communications, Sales and E-Publisher of TheMediaPath.com online advertising Blog. He can be reached at email@example.com
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