Tips from a Former Smoker


“Tips from a Former Smoker”, the title for CDC’s new ad campaign targeted at getting smokers to put down their cancer sticks. In this video, Bill shares his experiences with the effects of smoking in his life. There are quite a few similar ads in the series each one focusing on a different person’s life. Bill has diabetes and he explained how smoking made it worse, and how he lost eyesight in his right eye and a leg.

This campaign should be classified as an indoctrination campaign. Its goal is to inform smokers and educate them of the risks of smoking that they seem to want to disregard. I would not classify this under propaganda, nor do I believe anyone else would, as the risks of smoking are undeniable facts and the messages relayed are neither biased nor misleading in any way.  

From this video, it seems that the campaign is in both the activation stage and penetration stage. By informing the viewer of the risks and indirectly telling them to quit smoking it is telling the viewer what action to take. The Follow Through stage of the campaign stages might be more of a continuous effort by the campaign. The campaign can only monitor statistics of the current smokers and nonsmokers, they cannot provide a plan to ensure those viewing their ad will quit smoking. This makes the Follow Through for a campaign like this more difficult to accomplish, however when they do have an impact on viewers, it is possible for them to begin the Penetration stage, which is shown by Bill in this video. Bill used to be a smoker he was persuaded to quit smoking, and now he has become a primary persuader for CDC’s campaign.

I would make a claim that this ad for the campaign is very persuasive. Instead of using outright horrid imagery and scaring the viewer with shocking images, the advertisement takes a more personal and very realistic look into someone’s life. I feel this makes it easier for the viewer to relate to advertisement, and maybe make considering quitting smoking seem more enticing. Bill’s sarcastic tone at the end somewhat bashes on the smokers engrained belief that the risks associated with smoking will not happen to them. This is a tiny bit similar to the brainwashing technique, however I would claim it is more of a reverse brainwashing. Some no smoking campaigns can be a bit harsh and turn away many stubborn smokers, and this seems to take a better approach. So the target audience for this ad is stubborn smokers, probably in their late 30’s or 40’s, who refuse to listen to other shocking no smoking ads. It may be even more effective as this particular ad narrows it down to those with diabetes. I believe this ad can do a great job at persuading its intended audience. A greater improvement might be to add a few short statistics related to smoking that are just believable enough for a stubborn smoker to persuade them, I also feel giving some sort of reference for getting help to quit smoking would be an improvement as well.

-Wesley King

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