Bangkok Smoking Kid: “You worry about me, but why not about yourself?”

How do you convince people to quit smoking?

In 2012 in Thailand, after extensive research the Thai Health Promotion Foundation (THPF) discovers two insights. Two human truths that weren't immediately obvious:

1. A smokers insight: Smokers are fully aware of the health risks of smoking. But they ignore all warnings from friends, family and outsiders. Because the only voice they listen to is theirs. And it tells them things like, "Everything causes cancer these days" or "I can give up whenever I want.

2. A Thai cultural insight: Thailand is a deeply hierarchical society. And Thai people should always show respect to their elders. Which means that the older generation should be a role model to the younger generation. 

So the THPF combines these insights and comes up with a creative idea. They call it "Smoking kid", an ad campaign to be run online only. 

But this wasn’t a traditional anti-smoking ad

It shows two child actors walking up to adult smokers in the streets of Bangkok and asking them, "Can I get a light?".

The smokers say no and lecture each kid, "smoking is bad for you."

The kid says, "If it's so bad, why are you smoking?". Then hands a brochure that says:

“You worry about me, but why not about yourself? Reminding yourself is the most effective warning to help you quit. Call the 1600 hotline to quit smoking."

The campaign cost $5000. 

Three days after the launch of the online ad, the video was viewed 1 million times. 10 days later 5 million times. And calls to the hotline went up 62% in 1 month. 

Solving marketing problems demands creativity. But as Bob Hoffman recently wrote, the hard part "is not getting more information, it’s figuring out what the information we already have means."

Your pal,

Miguel Ferreira
Founder & Chief Copywriter, Teardwn + Nishi + Jack Had A Groove FM