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Ogilvy Singapore and Health Promotion Board encourages smokers to say ‘I Quit’

8 June, 2011

SINGAPORE — Ogilvy Singapore has conceptualized a radically different campaign for smoking control.

With the prevalence of adult smoking increasing from 12.6 percent to 14.3 percent in 2010 , the focus of Health Promotion Board (HPB) was to stem the increase in smoking and get adults to quit the harmful habit. This year, HPB and Ogilvy & Mather Singapore decided to put a more positive and emotional touch to celebrate smokers who have made the decision to quit smoking.

The team arrived at this approach through insights from research that was undertaken in collaboration with Flamingo International and Duxton Consulting. This exercise involved different disciplines of the agency – accounting servicing, creatives, planners – getting under the skin of the target audiences. What emerged were the following findings:

1. Smokers in Singapore live in an environment of isolation and victimization. The more negative the communication, the more they smoke as a sign of defiance against this social isolation.
2. The decision to quit, like the decision to smoke, is deeply internal and emotional. Advertising cannot provide these deep internal triggers to nudge a smoker into quitting.
3. Advertising can, however, help quitters persist through the tough quit journey (once they have decided on quitting) through a system of encouragement and support.

Commented Troy Lim, Creative Director, Ogilvy & Mather Advertising Singapore: “We made Quitters - real people who pledged to stay smoke-free – the stars of the campaign. They served as inspiration and encouragement for other smokers to follow, turning ‘I Quit’ into a movement.”

The creative team created a symbol (formed by the index and third finger closed together), a twist on how a smoker holds a cigarette to form a pledge gesture. This symbol identifies quitters as a special group of people who deserve to be celebrated and also creates a unifying gesture to rally quitters and other members of the community together.

In the ‘I Quit’ movement, smokers – all everyday Singaporeans from the heartlands – take the centrestage.

Over two weekends in May, HPB held roadshows at Jurong Point and Downtown East, two malls in the suburbs of Singapore. Smokers who have quit or want to quit smoking stepped up to declare their desire to stay cigarette-free and were given an ‘I Quit’ tee-shirt. A makeshift studio was set up at the roadshows and the smokers were filmed and photographed talking about their reasons for quitting smoking and doing the ‘I Quit’ gesture.

The recordings and photos eventually formed the backbone of the creative materials. The 30-second TVC is a collage of the footage filmed while the photos of selected individuals were used for the print ads. The hope is that these will encourage the smokers themselves to keep to the quit smoking path while inspiring other smokers to do likewise.

To provide a support network that would encourage these smokers who wish to quit, the movement also encompasses grassroots and community level support, as well as in the digital space. ‘I Quit’ clubs have been set up in the physical and virtual world to provide individuals with the tools and the support needed to quit successfully through community centres and Facebook ( On the Facebook page, smokers stepped forward to share their experiences and reasons for quitting and to date, more than 4,000 individuals have ‘liked’ the page.

In the digital space, a mobile quit application offers tailored quit techniques depending on an individual’s smoking triggers and habits. It also serves to socialize a smoker’s quit journey – allowing friends to act as lifelines while promoting a healthy level of competition among quitters.

Dan Gibson, Managing Director of Ogilvy & Mather Advertising Singapore, said, “Smokers like to smoke. To truly engage them and help them quit, we have had to innovate in message, medium and means. This is very much a 21st century campaign, and possibly the first ever anti-smoking campaign that smokers are going to enjoy.”

1 Source: National Health Survey 2010, The prevalence of Singapore residents, aged 18-69 years, who smoked daily.

Campaign Title : "I QUIT"
CD : Troy Lim, Jon Loke
Copywriter : Troy Lim, Jeremy Chia, Alex Lim
Art Director : Jon Loke, Fajar Kurnia, Dali Meskam
Planners : Sonal Narain, Tania Chan, Huiwen Tow
Production House : Applebox Asia
Director : Peter Bannan
Producer : Amarjeet Kaur
Post Production : Blackmagic Design
Audio : The Gunnery
Account servicing : Shirley Tay, Jamie Tang, Huimin Ng
Project Management : See Yeng Chua, Joanne Ang

Ogilvy & Mather Singapore

Long Li Yann, +65 98565405  

Jane Fraser, +65 9821 2914  

About Ogilvy & Mather
Ogilvy & Mather ( is one of the largest marketing communications companies in the world. Through its specialty units, the company provides a comprehensive range of marketing services including: advertising; public relations and public affairs; branding and identity; shopper and retail marketing; healthcare communications; direct, digital, promotion, relationship marketing. Ogilvy & Mather services Fortune Global 500 companies as well as local businesses through its network of more than 450 offices in 120 countries. It is a part of the WPP Group (NASDAQ: WPPGY, For more information, visit

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