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Effectiveness Of Anti-Smoking Advertisement Essay

Out of the total business of Tobacco in the world (i.e. $ 27 billion a year), 50% amount of the total turnover is being spent on marketing of the products (U.S. FTC _Cigarette Report_ 2007). The total deaths due to smoking were 100 million in the 20th Century. If precautions are not taken, it may go up-to one billion in the 21st Century against the present count of 5.4 million deaths as per WHO report, Feb.8 (Xinhua). The WHO report also says that governments earn as revenue more than 500 times than what these spend on non-smoking campaigns.

The turnover targets of the tobacco industry also calls for anti smoking charitable organizations to prevent smoking for the freshers and take into confidence the regular smokers to quit. Different Messages should be used to impress people and these should be very much effective through a research. All these messages should reach the people through an outdoor campaigning or through radio, television or distribution of printed pamphlets. Public Relation shall also help you to contact the affected persons. Besides these, Internet contacts and meetings on the public places shall also help you to achieve the targets.


Smoking is highly detrimental to health. Regular smoking can lead to serious diseases like lung cancer and chronic heart diseases. It reduces productivity of smokers and hence of organizations in which they are working which in turn hampers the economic growth of the country. The same effects are applicable on second-hand or passive smoker also. A lot of resources of any economy are diverted curing different diseases of active and passive smokers. Such resources could have been diverted towards other productive activities. The possible ways of reducing smoking and hence reducing its negative impact may be: (a) increasing the prices of cigarettes substantially by imposing huge taxes on cigarettes; (b) banning cigarettes in public places. However, cigarette smoking is an addiction and its demand is relatively price inelastic and thus option (a) has limited scope to reduce smoking.

Banning smoking in public places has also limited scope because individuals have the liberty to smoke in private without any major decrease in smoking. To compel individuals to reduce or quit smoking, an effective approach is through advertisement campaigns highlighting the ill-effects of smoking. However, advertisement campaigns will be successful in their objectives only when they are effectively designed and communicated. Since advertisement campaigns involve huge expenditure, it should give the maximum benefit in terms of large reduction in number of smokers. That is, advertisement campaigns should be cost-effective. Thus, designing an effective advertisement campaign is of prime importance for the benefit of any society or economy. This project is an attempt in this direction. This project aims to suggest what a successful anti-smoking advertisement campaign should contain?

When the smoking statistics is analyzed for UK, it is observed that it is the highest amongst the persons who aged 20-34 years. Around 35% of persons (both men and women) in the age group of 20-34 years smoke. The lowest smoking rate is amongst the persons who aged 60 and above. Around 16% of the persons in the age group of 60 and above smoke. When the smoking rate amongst the adults is analyzed, it is found out that 29% of men and 25% of women amongst adults smoke. The figure does not look to an alarming when we compare the same with 1974 figures when 51% of men and 41% of women (that is nearly 50% of the adult population in UK) smoked cigarettes (UK SMOKING STATISTICS, www.nonsmokingday.org.uk). Thus, in the recent years the decline in smoking has been mostly concentrated amongst older population. More matured smokers are quitting smoking where as many youths are joining the smoking group.

Smoking statistics further show that lower socio-economic group people smoke more than the people in the professional group. 39% of men and 34% of women in lower socio-economic group smoke as compared with 15% of men and 13% of women in professional group (UK SMOKING STATISTICS, www.nonsmokingday.org.uk).

The smoking statistics in the age group of 11-15 years show that 6% of UK population in this age group smokes regularly in 2007. However, the regular smoking rate was 16% in 1977 in the age group of 11-15 year. Amongst the 15-year-old population, the smoking rate declined from 25% in 1982 to 20% in 2006 and further to 15% in 2007 (www.ash.org.uk).

Thus to persuade the individuals further to quit smoking to increase their productivity and to apprise them about harmful effects of smoking, an effective advertisement campaign should be designed. Different advertisement campaigns should be designed to target different section of society. The segmentation should be done on the basis of age, sex and socio-economic status.

Since in UK the maximum smoking rate is amongst the youth and lower socio-economic group, the maximum amount of UK anti-smoking advertisement budget should be kept for these two groups. Since the maximum smoking rate in UK is amongst the persons who aged 16 to 50 years, this project aims at describing the process for designing the effective anti smoking advertisement campaigns for the smokers who are in this age group.

The variables which are very important for any advertisement campaign are: (a) content; (b) consistency; (c) clarity; and (d) reach (Sissors JT, Bumba L. _Advertising Media Planning_, 1989). Primarily the advertisement campaign should contain the harmful effects of smoking which should be targeted at different sections of the society in terms of their demographic profile.

The content regarding highlighting negative impacts of smoking can be classified as below:

The advertisements that highlight the adverse long-term effects of smoking in the health of smokers such as smoking causing diseases like lung cancer and other chronic heart problems.

Advertisements that discuss the adverse effects in the short-run such as foul breath and rejection while the smoker is involved in the romance.

Advertisements that describe the false tactics employed by the cigarette companies to sell cigarettes which is a destructive and addictive product. The advertisement should emphasize that cigarette companies are illegally targeting minors and making false claims that cigarettes are non-addictive.

Advertisements that involve role models who describe ill-effects of smoking.

Advertisements that highlight the adverse effects of second hand smoke or passive smoking on children, friends and other family members.

Advertisements that show smokers as the persons who have preferred unattractive and unhealthy life style.

Advertisements that involve celebrities and showing that these celebrities are refusing to smoke.

This project describes the approach that should be adopted while designing effective concepts of advertising to quit smoking. The approach is designed to help organizations which are involved in choosing the concepts of advertising for a campaign, the main objective of which is to motivate smokers to quit or to make an attempt to quit smoking. The approach is very appropriate for market research.

The main objective of the approach is to conduct the market test for finding out the most appropriate advertisement for a particular market or target group. This may be achieved by analyzing the different advertisements which have already been developed in the past.

The approach is based on the assumption that the persons who are watching these advertisements could be youth or adults, men or women, smokers or non-smokers.

Different advertising campaigns should be designed for targeting different sections of the society. The campaign which may be effective for adults, the same campaign may not be effective for youths.

The project is further divided into four sections. Section 2 discusses the research objectives of the study. Section 3 explains the research methodology of the study. Section 4 provides the data analysis and empirical results while section 5 gives the recommendations


The main objective of this research is to assess different advertisement in terms of their ability to fulfill certain objectives of advertisement campaign. This objective can be achieved only if the research analyses reactions to different advertisements. The reactions to each of the advertisements can be analyzed on the following parameters:

Whether the advertisement will be noticed by the smokers (Attention)

Whether the smokers will find the advertisement as relevant to them (Identification)

The kind of message that will be conveyed to smokers through the advertisement (Communication)

The impact that the advertisement will have on smoking (Effect).

The objectives of the advertisement will determine the objectives of research on communication and effect parameters. That is,

If the main objective of the campaign is to provide awareness about the harmful effects of smoking – the objective is to find the advertisements which have the maximum potential to provide awareness about the effects of smoking on health.

If the objective of the campaign is to encourage smokers to stop smoking – the objective is to find the advertisements which have the maximum potential to encourage smokers towards quitting of cigarettes.

If the objective of the campaign is to enhance awareness of harmful effects of passive smoking – the objective is to determine the advertisements which have the maximum potential to increase awareness of the ill-effects of second hand smoke.

If the objective of the campaign is to develop or support smoke-free policies – the objective is to find out which advertisements have the maximum capacity to enhance support these smoke-free policies.

The unintended effects of advertisements amongst smokers and persons outside the target audience group should also be identified by the research.


A focus group discussion approach has been used to conduct the research. In focus group discussion method, there is an involvement of several groups of persons from the target audience. Groups are segmented in terms of their demographic profiles. Persons of the group are encouraged to fruitfully discuss different possible advertisements. Experiences, attitudes and opinions are discussed in the focus groups. Various views are exchanged and explored during the discussion. The main advantage of the context of the group is the ability of group dynamics to bring new ideas and to encourage the debate on the issue.

To successfully address the research objectives, minimum four group discussions should be conducted. The complexities involved in the target audience of campaign and the segmentation of the participants determine the number of groups that should be involved while conducting the research.


The first task in designing the research is to determine the target audience. This is followed by finding out the most suitable approach that will be used to segment the target audience into different groups. The segmentation is done on the basis of demographic profile such as age and sex.

The following segmentation may be used if the objective of the campaign is to motivate smokers who aged 16 to 50 years to quit smoking.

To design the research project and the inclusion of the participants in different groups, the following procedure should be adopted:

Different groups should include only smokers (that is those who smoke at least five cigarettes in a day). Occasional smokers should not be included.

Only those smokers should be included who are thinking to quit smoking in the next one year or some other time in the future. Smokers who are resistant to change should not be included.

Only those smokers who represent suitable socio-demographic profiles should be included to reflect the smoking population. That is, all smokers should be from lower socio-economic group if the target group represents lower socio-economic status.

People who are involved in promotion of healthy programmes, market research or having employment in cigarette companies should not be included.

To design the project and the inclusion of participants, in addition to the above, some additional criteria are also worth considering. Consideration of these additional criteria will depend upon the characteristics of the smoker population, objectives of communication of the advertisements and the specific campaign’s aims. These additional criteria might contain the followings:

Whether the conduct of the research should be in different locations, such as rural or urban or semi-urban.

Whether the parents who are smokers should be included.

Whether non-smokers and ex-smokers should be included in the research.

In each focus group discussion, normally there is a recruitment of eight to ten smokers. Many times it is better to recruit ten persons as all the people who are recruited will not attend at the given time and one should expect that seven or eight persons will attend. The constructive discussion on the issues and fruitful interaction may be held with this number.


A room or a hall should be used for conducting group discussion. The group discussion needs to be arranged in a TV room where participants can see TV each other and the faculty. The discussions should be recorded for further review and analysis; if this is not possible proper notes should be drawn after each group. The research assistant shall fill-up a form after completion of each group which will contain the group number, advertisement name and member. Participants shall introduce themselves to each other and further explanation shall be given by the in charge of the group.

The participants shall be distributed a set of forms for each Ad and final page after rating of all the advertisements. Each member shall view each of the advertisements and rate the same to have an individual decision without any pressure of the group. This shall result in healthier discussions in the group for exploration in detail.

The tape of the advertisement for all the ads shall be run twice and stopped and the participants make ratings thereafter. Thereafter, the in charge of the group shall ask all the participants to complete the final page of rating and collect the same.

The order of displaying the ads should be charged to overcome the similarly of preferential order in which these are present.

It is necessary for the organizer to record the different number and name of the ad on the top before handing over. Afterwards, he will keep the ads in the order these are shown for each group. The ads should bear a short title in the requisite space before handing over the forms.

Conversation between the participants and the moderator shall be held through open discussions where participants shall have freedom to speak openly. Participants may face different questions from the moderator. Research Assistant shall keep record notes of the discussions and observations, which shall based on attention, identification and communication of the smokers and lastly the effect of the ad or the smokers.

The Research staff should take notes, include quotations from participants and make concluding observations from the groups as per the themes give below:

Whether the advertisement will be noticed by the smokers.

Whether the smokers will find the advertisement as relevant to them.

What kinds of messages will be conveyed to the smokers.

Whether there will be effect of the advertisement on smoking.

Whether there will be any unintended consequences of the advertisement.



After the completion of all the groups, all the rating sheets should be collated and the analysis of results should begin. The percentage of persons who rightly identify the core message of the advertisement in either of the first two questions should also be calculated for each advertisement. Calculation should also be made for the percentage of persons who made definitely incorrect interpretation of the core message. This will provide the numerical scores for the themes of communication and unintended consequences. The scorer should decide in advance what is the core message of each advertisement and what will be taken as a correct core message to determine how to score responses of the people.

The percentage of persons who agree or disagree with each advertisement should be computed for each advertisement. A summary of the preferences of the people should be made by comparing these percentages for each advertisement. The percentage of persons who declared each advertisement as the most effective to quit or making an attempt to quit smoking should be computed on the final advertisement rating page. The same kind of rigorous analysis can be conducted by computing the percentage of each demographic group in terms of males and females, adults and youths etc.


After the completion of all the groups, the note taking form prepared by the Research Staff should be collated. The core themes and research objectives should be taken into account while analyzing results for each advertisement. The results should be analyzed in terms of the following parameters:





Unintended consequences

It should be ensured that from each group, all the issues and opinions have been taken into consideration. This can be achieved by taking additional notes (if required) after listening or watching the recordings of each group. One should consider only the opinions which are the most common. It is very important to judge whether an advertisement will be effective or not if only a mall number of participants express their opinions.

It should be ensured by the researcher that all ranges of responses have been taken into account and not just the responses that confirm already established findings and conclusions. When advertisements are compared and preferences are considered, it should be taken into account that the most liked advertisement of the group may not necessarily the best advertisement or anti smoking campaign. The advertisement should be effective and not necessarily liked by the participants. The advertisement which achieves the most objectives of the campaign is considered as the best advertisement. For this, advertisement needs to be noticed, to be relevant, to be able communicate the desired message and to prompt smokers to quit smoking.


To select the advertisement, which is most likely to fulfill the campaign objectives, the results obtained from the rating sheets and the discussion analysis should be combined and compared. The analysis of rating sheets will tell about comparison of the different advertisements on different important dimensions. The analysis of focus group discussion will explain about these differences.


While designing the effective advertisement campaign, one should take into account the target group for which the advertisement campaign has been designed. The campaign which is more effective for adults, may not necessarily effective for youths. While designing the advertisement campaign for youths, it should contain the following message themes – romantic rejection, smokers as negative role models, ill-effect of passive smoking, celebrities refusing to smoke, involvement of role models describing the ill-effects of smoking.

When targeting adults, the ‘Emotional Consequences’ campaign will be more effective as it will make them think about the impact of their smoking on children, friends and other family members. In last, it is recommended that one should conduct the effects of advertisement campaign on outcome. Thus, pre and post test of any advertisement campaign should be conducted.


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