Cancer Research UK Launches ‘The Breath Test’

CRUK Breath

Cancer Research UK is launching ‘The Breath Test’ – a new outdoor, experiential, social, guerrilla, press and radio campaign. ‘The Breath Test’ aims to promote the effectiveness of local Stop Smoking Services to smokers who’d like to quit.

AMV BBDO and Cancer Research UK have created a series of executions across multiple channels that puts smokers to the test. This local campaign was running until the end of March.

Posters at bus stops and in shopping centreswere created that invite passers-by to take a deep breath and read the text on them aloud, in one go, without stopping. The visual style mimics the typography and graphic design of a cigarette pack health warning.

A bespoke 6 sheet that people can interact with has also been created. It is the very first digital poster that uses breath to reveal a message on screen, the longer people blow, the more of the ad is revealed. The idea was activated in partnership with Clear Channel, Grand Visual and MediaCom UK. It aims to highlight the link between smoking and diminished lung capacity, encouraging smokers to seek the help they need to quit for good.

The game is also translated into a Facebook execution, allowing people to play along on their phone. The radio ad hears an actual smoker try to perform the whole ad in one breath. The guerrilla executions interrupt smokers with the message in places they’d likely run out of breath – with bespoke ads for football stadiums, dog bins and parks, churches and even condoms!

The campaign uses the breath game to engage smokers in a variety of places, helping deliver our message that local Stop Smoking Services gives them the best chance of quitting for good.

AMV BBDO said: “A lot of advertising in this area focuses on health harms, the often gory consequences of being a smoker, with images of tar in lungs and mutating cancer cells. However this campaign took a different approach.We didn’t simply need to provoke consideration about quitting, it needed to motivate smokers in looking for a solution.So rather than scaring smokers into action, itsimply invites them to play a game – to see just how much they can say in one breath. In the process they have taken in ‘The Breath Test’s’messaging and have understood it in a way they had never done before, without feeling ashamed about their habit. A completely unique approach in anti-smoking communication.”

The campaign’s media was planned by MediaCom UK, and is running for three weeks.

The creative team Diccon Driver, Copywriter, and Alan Wilson, Art Director told us:

“This idea came from wanting to involve the audience more.  Most ads that talk to smokers lecture them – but we thought it would be much more effective to draw them in by asking them to carry out a simple challenge. Seeing how their smoking was affecting them first hand would make for a much more compelling piece of communication.”


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