Ministry of Health takes on social smoking


How do you stop young, occasional smokers from forming a habit that would become increasingly difficult to break when they are in denial of the habit altogether? Traditional scare tactics showing blackened lungs and tracheotomy tubes don't really work because they don't see themselves as smokers and reject these consequences.

The Ministry of Health and Long-term Care enlisted BBDO to help develop a campaign that would show "social smokers" and peers just how ridiculous the act is. The agency created a predominantly digital campaign, which included humourous online videos that compare social smoking to other undesirable behaviours like "social farting," "social earwax picking" and "social nibbling."

The ads were seeded though pre-roll, bloggers, cinema, video sites and online display ads. The campaign also confronted social smokers in the act with posters, coasters and mirror clings in bars and restaurants.

The videos went viral and generated more than two million views on YouTube in the first week. The campaign garnered more than 90 million impressions, reaching four in 10 Ontarians, and it picked up a Bronze Integrated Titanium Lion at the 2013 Cannes International Festival of Creativity.