Changing packaging to protect young people

Our brief from Smokefree South West was to develop and activate a regional marketing strategy to achieve specific objectives. That resulted in us developing fully integrated campaigns across a range of channels to drive response and behavioural change across the South West to influence smoking behaviour. The campaigns need to show measurable response across the 14 PCTs in awareness, attitudinal changes and quit rates.

Plain To See

We take an active partnership approach in working with Smokefree South West and this is best illustrated through our recent ‘Plain Packs Protect’ initiative. This campaign demonstrated public support for the government consultation into the standardised packaging of tobacco products – a first in tackling the issue of attractive tobacco packaging designed to lure kids to take up smoking.

The challenges of the campaign were in educating such a wide audience in order to raise awareness of a relatively unknown issue and in demonstrating true public support through tangible numbers.

Coalition, Collation and Collaboration

We immediately put our experts from advertising, media, experiential, digital and mobile together to create a strong action-oriented creative idea that would drive response.

Out of all voter segments, we identified the key target audience as parents so that we could focus the proposition around protecting children. From this, we developed a disruptive creative style with a campaign message giving supporters a way of taking immediate action. The creative confronted the packaging issue head-on and engaged the public’s desire for change. It was tested in focus groups with our audiences to ensure it had the desired impact.

To build even more credibility and ensure the message was consistent and coherent, we developed an influential partnership, the Plain Packs Protect Partnership, made up of a coalition of 25 organisations, including the British Heart Foundation, Cancer Research UK and ASH, ensuring consistent, strong messaging around the issue.

The integrated campaign launched across outdoor, social media, roadshow events, e-mail CRM, online, and support materials to create awareness and to drive supporters to a pledge website, where they could show their support by adding their voice to the consultation.

The experiential roadshow programme was very powerful in this situation due to the high level of education needed around the issue. Teams of staff used iPads to explain the issue and allow people to sign up immediately, feeding their information into the single database used online.

The result?

Overall, the integrated partnership generated over 211,650 names in support of the Plain Packs Protect campaign. The roadshows were highly cost-effective at driving sign ups across the region, with an average CPA of £5.54. Evaluation work undertaken before and after the campaign showed that awareness about the consultation increased from 32% to 54%.

Here's what Fiona Andrews, Director of Smokefree South West had to say about the campaign:

“It is a real credit to everyone across the South West that they have shown such strong support for a measure that could help move cigarettes out of glamorous, glitzy and expensively designed boxes into low-key functional packaging similar to pharmaceutical products that contain potentially addictive drugs... The positive response we have seen to this campaign shows that this concerns smokers and non-smokers, young and old, uncles and aunties, parents and grandparents.”

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