Responses by Erno Reinikainen, creative director, TBWA\Helsinki
Background: The purpose of the project was to bring attention to an important cause: During the pandemic, it is more crucial than ever to quit smoking. For the Cancer Society of Finland, the campaign’s main target audience was everyone who smoke, whether they do it casually or habitually.
Reasoning: During the first wave of the pandemic, we noticed an alarming trend spreading online: people smoking through holes made in their facemasks. This trend, combined with the fact that smoking increases the risk of a severe illness from COVID-19, was the basis for our creative idea.
Communication about smoking and its risks often revolve around messaging such as “Smoking kills,” “Smoking causes cancer” and “Smoking causes health issues.” Together with our creative partners FLC Helsinki and Koski Syväri, we recognized a possibility to communicate to people about smoking and its risks in a new and current way. We saw that the ongoing pandemic could be an additional motivator for someone to quit smoking. Cancer might seem far away, but COVID-19 might strike anytime.
Challenges: The timing. With the ongoing pandemic, it was more important to not only tap into a current topic, but also do it with the utmost respect. With the right timing, we wanted to make sure that we got maximum attention for the cause without people thinking we’re trying to exploit the current situation. This is the reason why we did not go live last spring 2020 but waited for a better time. January 2021 was a good time for the campaign since many are already focusing more on their health.
Favorite details: How the picture and the copy in the OOH work together. Instead of over-explaining the ad, we left room for the viewer’s realization.
Visual influences: Our whole creative idea was fueled by a trend spreading online where people shared images of smoking through holes made in their facemasks.
Time constraints: With the ongoing pandemic, it was very important for us to choose the right timing. We did not want the campaign to go live when the world was just getting used to new normal and everything revolved around COVID. Now that people are adjusting to the situation, where vaccines have started being implemented and some countries are already free of COVID, we thought the time was right.