Every time when I wait for my train at the train stations I can’t help but pay attention to all the ‘quit smoking’ ads plastered all over the barricades. I realized the ads very different from last years’, which focused on educating the public on the severe health implications from smoking through the use of scary pictures and harsh usage of texts, mainly by threatening and scaring them, has adopted another approach instead. No more educating, no more threatening, they’ve now used a more subtle approach, by letting them know the reasons why they should be quitting smoking, and as emphasized, for the sake of their loved ones.
These ads feature happy looking people who look like just anyone from the streets, with the ‘quit-smoking’ gesture, wearing a plain tee with their reason for quitting smoking written on it. It was simple and not harsh or reprimanding, yet it effectively allows the smokers to ponder, while letting the message penetrate deep into their thoughts. One of the ads caught my attention the most. It featured an ordinary happy looking couple with the text “I quit smoking so that I can save $ to travel with my girlfriend” written on the guy’s shirt. Instead of learning about the ‘everyone-knows’ consequences of smoking, it reminds the smokers that if they quit smoking, they will be able to save lots of money, and that allows them to spend more on their loved ones and thereby providing a better life not only for the smokers themselves but also for those around them. This example of an ad is effective and appealing to those who lament of not having enough money or that life is just too difficult financially. However, in the case of the higher income group, I doubt it would be as effective.
This is where other versions of the ads serve their purposes. A delighted woman in her thirties wrote on her shirt “I quit smoking because I want to protect my (pictures of lungs and heart)”. The message is simple and straightforward –to protect your health. It reminds the smokers to quit smoking for the sake of their health. They’ve seen enough scary pictures of rotting mouths, bleeding gums, greying complexions, and eyes that look so sad and desperate for help. A little reminder triggers the emotions they developed when they saw those horrifying and spine-chilling pictures which were plastered everywhere, even on television commercials.
These ads engage the audience’s thoughts, and convey many simple yet meaningful messages to not just the smokers, but also to everyone who comes across them. By offering many versions of the ad the rich content is broken up into many short segments that are more easily registered by the audience. I’m impressed by these ads, as the simple depiction of happy people and the direct messages touch even a non-smoker like me.