Public Sector: Tobacco Control: Get Unhooked Department of Health/COI

Smoking kills over 87,000 people in England every year, and costs the NHS alone more than £1.5bn. Nine million adults in England smoke and in recent years there has been a distinct working-class bias to the habit. Hardened smokers had become immune to Tobacco Control’s traditional “hearts and lungs imagery” technique of persuading people to quit, so the new campaign used a carrot and stick approach, confronting smokers with the controversial message that they were effectively addicts but then reassuring them that there was plenty of help available to them through the NHS. Graphic imagery of people being literally hooked through the mouth was used in a TV ad, on interactive TV, in the press, on posters, through ambient and direct marketing, through information in GPs’ surgeries and online. The imagery was coupled with the call to “get unhooked”. The result was one of the most famous campaigns of 2007, with 90% awareness among smokers. It generated 774 complaints, more than any other campaign, getting huge coverage in the national media. But negative feedback was outweighed by the positive response from smokers. Over 1.3 million people contacted the NHS helpline or website, double the response generated in 2006. Using the Government’s estimate of the “cost of a human life” being roughly £681,000 (this comprised medical costs and loss of productivity/ consumption of goods), and the estimate of 2,600 premature deaths averted, it was calculated the campaign will potentially save the NHS £1.8bn – far more than the cost of the campaign (£7.1m).

CAMPAIGN Cycling Safety
BRAND Transport for London
COMPANY Transport for London

CAMPAIGN One Army Recruiting
COMPANY The British Army

CAMPAIGN The Big Food Fight
BRAND Channel 4
COMPANY Channel 4

CAMPAIGN The WebFiling Campaign
BRAND WebFiling
COMPANY Companies House

CAMPAIGN Want Respect?
Use a Condom
COMPANY Department for Children,
Schools and Families


Precision Marketing is the monthly magazine for Direct and Digital Marketing effectiveness. It is read by marketers across the consumer and business-to-business spectrum as well as agency, media and supplier personnel. Acknowledged as the leading publication in its sector, Precision Marketing provides its readers with:

  • Exclusive news, analyses and authoritative features on direct marketing, e-marketing, database management and customer relationship management;
  • Well informed comment from leading industry experts;
  • In-depth case studies and special reports;
  • Subscriber-only access to Precision Marketing archives on;
  • Hundreds of direct and digital marketing jobs in print and online.

Precision Marketing also runs the annual Response Awards, which next year will be presented at the London Hilton Hotel on Park Lane on the 28th of April 2009. Designed to reflect how successful companies are building relationships with existing and potential customers, they are the UK’s only awards scheme to highlight the growth in data-driven and direct marketing.

Ed Tillotson

50 Poland Street
T 020 7970 4848
F 020 7970 6711

Acting Editor David Reed
Sales Manager Kirsty Clark
Established 1988


    Leave a comment