More parental guilt as Quitline and Screentime continue fight against smoking

Quitline is rolling out phase two of its ‘crayons’ campaign, joining up with Screentime creative Toni Urlich, and has released the first of two TVCs, which provide a strong reminder of the impressionable nature of children and their desire to emulate the actions of family members they look up to.

The first 30-second TVC, ‘Disrespect’, released yesterday, tells the story of three children who have been caught out smoking. Their parents discuss their actions disapprovingly, yet two of the parents are smoking, with one boys father saying his son would never disrespect him, to which the son respond by giggling, after which the parents discover his son was the instigator. The father is shocked and offended and asks “why” to which one of the parents responds, “because he wants to be like you”.

The ad serves as a poignant reminder of the copycat behaviour children can exhibit when wanting to be like the grownups they look up to. So, according to a release, Quitline built the campaign on a theme of role-modelling: “…the advertisements focus on children who come from a loving, happy home in which the adults around them smoke. As a result, the children believe smoking is normal. While the tone of the advertisements is light, the message is hard hitting and was shown to trigger feelings of guilt among viewers, which in turn translated to an increased desire to quit smoking.”

Quitline and Urlich—formerly at Māori Television and now head of New Media at Screentime—released the first phase of the campaign September last year, and it has now brought back the same whanau and a similar premise to reiterate the message.

Quitline looked at communities to find ways of bringing Māori smoking rates down, it found something surprising. According to its research, Māori and others in high deprivation populations care less about the cost of cigarettes, or their health, compared to how much they care about their children.

Māori Television client services manager Sonara Southcombe-Wallace said earlier: “The reason why those Māori [surveyed]that quit did was seeing kids do it. And that was any smoker – not just parents. That’s why we went with the kids [for the ad content]. Quitline found that many of its other ads that said ‘quit now and ring us’, they didn’t work.”

Apparently, actor Kahukore Bell gave up smoking straight after the production of the TVCs, saying she recognised herself in the campaign and she does not want her young daughter to think smoking is normal because Mum does it.

And according to the Cancer Society, nationally 45.4 percent of Māori adults identify as being current smokers, more than double the smoking rate of non-Māori, and approximately 800 Māori dying every year of different smoking-related diseases.

A release says the first phase of the campaign was a success: “The original campaign has been one of Quitline’s most successful ever, leading to a 29.1 percent increase in demand for the Quitline service.”

Quitline chief executive Paula Snowden says Quitline is pleased, “We know that we need hard hitting campaigns like this one if we are to reduce smoking rates and achieve the Government’s goal of Smokefree Aotearoa 2025.”

Screentime CEO Philly de Lacey says she is thrilled with the look and feel of the new campaign and says, “It’s a great coup to have Toni and her team join forces with the wonderful talents we have at Screentime. The Crayons campaign showcases Toni’s skills in creating messages that meet the clients’ needs and reach their target audiences.

“We are delighted to be working with great organisations like Quitline, to offer them cost effective creative solutions, which fit their marketing needs.”

The second TVC in phase two of the campaign, ‘Social’ will be released mid-April.


Screentime – Creative & Production
Toni Urlich – Creative Director, EP
Sam Kelly – Director
Valentine Taylor – Producer
Martyn Williamson – DOP

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