Responses by Michael Lemme, chief creative officer and MJ Deery, purpose practice director, Duncan Channon
Background: NeverJustASmoke.org is part of the California Tobacco Control Program’s statewide-integrated campaign that taps into the insight that social smokers age 21 to 35 typically don’t view themselves as “smokers”—and thus, underestimate the harm of lighting up socially. The site, created in collaboration with Beyond, aims to reveal the surprising health consequences of social smoking in a way that will get through to users who don’t see the harm in their habits.
Highlights: We wanted the campaign and site to feel like a conversation among peers. The self-selected navigation, stylized photography by Pari Dukovic and conversational tone help ground the users in their own worlds. Then, we challenge common perceptions about the health consequences of social smoking in a way that feels interesting and illuminating—not didactic.
Challenges: We’re talking to an audience that’s inclined to dismiss the concern, and yet, our campaign has managed to get them to the site. We needed to create an experience that doesn’t lose them right away. How do we encourage these users to make an active choice for themselves about their smoking?
Favorite details: The site empowers users in their personal paths of discovery and action, and creates a comfortable space to explore and re-evaluate their habits. For example, the site contains a moment where we ask users to click an “I’ll Stop” button that doesn’t really do anything—except create an intention in their heads. A call-to-action that only has an impact if you choose that it should.
Navigational structure: We wanted to create an experience that a person has to actively proceed through. We ask people to recognize themselves in the common defenses of social smoking before we serve up startling statistics about the real health consequences. It’s only then that we invite people to envision their lives without social smoking and offer resources to help them quit.
Time constraints: Our most critical constraint was the reality that we could only reasonably count on a short attention span from users. At every stage, we asked ourselves if the content and flow was going to pull users in deeper or have them leave.