HPA gives smoking a creepy face

  • Government
  • June 23, 2014
  • Damien Venuto
HPA gives smoking a creepy face

Ten years after the release of Basic Instinct, director Joe Eszterhas, who at the time had just beaten throat cancer, wrote a column in the New York Times saying that his biggest regret in the film wasn’t the infamous leg-crossing scene but rather the glamorisation of smoking culture. At times, in the film, cigarettes dangle seductively from the lips of protagonists, equating the cancer-causing habit to a desirable, even attractive, social trait.

Things have however changed since Eszterhas penned his article in 2002. People now accept that smoking is harmful, its cool factor has waned, and today we have the lowest smoking rates among 14- to 15-year-olds since 1999. But despite this downward turn, there is still a trend of younger Kiwis trying cigarettes.      

So, in an effort to dissuade these potential smokers from picking up that first cigarette, the Health Promotion Agency has launched a new campaign via GSL Promotus that gives a tongue-in-cheek depiction of exactly how ugly a relationship with cancer sticks can be.          

Throughout the course of five TVCs, different characters are depicted as being in a relationship with a delightfully creepy cigarette man that wheezes, coughs and sniggers throughout each spot.  

“This campaign communicates with young adults 17 to 24-years-old who are at risk of taking up smoking because of social and environmental influences such as peer pressures and alcohol consumption,” says the HPA website.

“At-risk smokers are those that are not daily smokers but may be experimenting with (social) smoking and risk becoming established smokers. We want to ensure that the campaign resonates with Māori, and subsequent phases will focus on Pacific peoples and pregnant women 17 to 24-years-old.”

According Statistics New Zealand, these demographic groups continue to have high numbers of active smokers.



In addition to the TVCs, the campaign has also been activated online via a specially designed microsite, which features additional information on smoking. 

“The aims are to increase he audience’s resistance to tobacco — including offers of cigarettes in social settings, help them understand the nature of tobacco and its harms, and increase the prevalence of pro-smokefree and anti-tobacco attitudes,” says the website.

In April, the HPA also launched a high school-targeted campaign that featured several Kiwi musicians talking about their involvement in the ‘SmokefreeRockfest’ initiative.  

These campaigns form part of a continued drive by the government to make New Zealand smoke-free by 2025.

According to the HPA, the costs of smoking to New Zealand in 2005 were around NZ$1.7 billion, or about 1.1% of GDP. This includes costs incurred because of lost production due to early death, lost production due to smoking-caused illness, and smoking caused health-care costs.

This is a community discussion forum. Comment is free but please respect our rules:

  1. Don’t be abusive or use sweary type words
  2. Don’t break the law: libel, slander and defamatory comments are forbidden
  3. Don’t resort to name-calling, mean-spiritedness, or slagging off
  4. Don’t pretend to be someone else.

If we find you doing these things, your comments will be edited without recourse and you may be asked to go away and reconsider your actions.
We respect the right to free speech and anonymous comments. Don’t abuse the privilege.

'A real range across the board': MediaWorks launches new lifestyle channel ThreeLife

  • Media
  • February 16, 2018
  • Georgina Harris
'A real range across the board': MediaWorks launches new lifestyle channel ThreeLife

Following MediaWorks’ media event yesterday, the company has announced a few changes for 2018; including a new lifestyle channel ThreeLife, a new corporate brand identity, a shuffling of radio presenters and the return of familiar shows. StopPress talks with chief content officer Andrew Szusterman and head of programming and acquisitions Ben Quinn about the new channel, why we're seeing another season of Married at First Sight New Zealand, and the consistency in what they do.

Read more
Next page
Results for

StopPress provides essential industry news and intelligence, updated daily. And the digital newsletter delivers the latest news to your inbox twice a week — for free!

©2009–2015 Tangible Media. All rights reserved.
Use of this site constitutes acceptance of our Privacy policy.


Contact Vernene Medcalf at +64 21 628 200 to advertise in StopPress.

View Media Kit