Soon after the government abandoned the court fight over its proposed scary warning labels on cigarette packages, it returned to what works: advertising. The Centers for Disease Control will launch Monday a second media campaign aimed at persuading smokers to quit.
The campaign, Tips From Former Smokers, builds on the success of last year's $54 million ad campaign that doubled the number of calls to 1-800-QUIT-NOW and boosted visits to the website by more than five times. This time the CDC has set aside $48 million for the campaign.
Like the first round of ads that aired a year ago, the five new TV ads show real people, not actors, many suffering from smoking-related diseases and disabilities such as diabetes, blindness, cancer, kidney failure and amputation.
Some of the ads rely on scare tactics, vividly depicting the horrific consequences of smoking, while others are more inspirational, with former smokers providing tips and encouragement, like "do whatever it takes," and "We did it, you can too."
"In the latest round, we focused on different health consequences but also how smoking affects loved ones," said Paul Nelson, managing partner and executive director for Arnold Worldwide, which created the ads for both campaigns.
For example, there's Michael, who suffers from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), struggling to breathe and agonizing over how to tell his grandson he doesn't have many years left. "I'm running out of time," he says in the ad. Another features Tiffany, who lost her mother when she was 16 to lung cancer and quit smoking so that her own daughter wouldn’t suffer the way she did.
"These are the kinds of ads that smokers tell us help motivate them to quit, saving lives and money," said Tom Frieden, a medical doctor and the director of the CDC, in a statement.
The new ads will air for at least 12 weeks on TV (predominantly cable), radio, online, billboards and in theaters, magazines and newspapers. Some of the ads from last year's flight began running March 4.