Stoptober 2016: Young & Shand and Inspiring Ltd focus on teamwork to help Kiwis kick the butt

Convincing someone to stop smoking can rarely be done by appealing only to the rational part of the mind. Those who smoke are often completely aware of how bad the habit is for them, but they do it regardless of what the research or pictures of blackened lungs might suggest.

Given this context, Young & Shand and Inspiring Ltd decided not to take the obvious route of chastising smokers for their bad decision making with this year’s edition of Stoptober. Instead, the pair of organisations developed a campaign showing family members lending support to someone struggling with addiction.


In the clip, a woman is shown looking for a box of cigarettes, which she eventually discovers in the back of a drawer. However, upon opening the box, she finds a collection of rolled up notes featuring motivational messages from family members.   

“Telling people they should quit is pointless because smokers already know that they should,” says Young & Shand creative director Tim Wood. “So instead of repeating the same old message and telling people to quit, we set out to actually help them do it. By building a sense of community and personalised support our aim was to give smokers the confidence that they could actually quit smoking for good.”

The campaign will roll out across online video platforms and will also be supported by a series of humorous clips of comedians chatting about giving up on the nicotine sticks.

This year marks the third edition of Stoptober, and the organisation coordinator Jasmine Graham applauded the level of respect afforded to the audience by the creative. 

“We had a very specific target that we needed to reach compared to the previous years,” Graham says. “[And] Young & Shand were able to develop respectful and culturally sensitive, yet attractive and relevant messaging and images that lined up perfectly with our kaupapa.”

Data from Statistics New Zealand shows that while overall rates of smoking are reducing every year, smoking rates remain highest among Māori and Pacific Island communities—which is part of the reason why this is the core target audience for this campaign.  

Government has set the target of making New Zealand smoke-free by 2025, and the downward trajectory of overall smoking rates seems to suggest the strategy is making a difference but there is still a lot of work to be done to eliminate the social issue completely. 

(Taken from 2014/15 New Zealand Health Survey).  

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