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NHS Launches 'Stoptober'
By: Dwayne W. Waite Jr.
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Would you quit smoking for 28 days? That is the question the National Health Service is asking smokers. A new campaign being done by SmokeFree (the National Health Service) is advocating that smokers should take a break during the month of October.

The NHS named it #Stoptober.

Its little tagline is pretty catchy, too: "It's like October, without the cigarette." We are not unfamiliar with month-long campaign and awareness drives. Speaking of October, this is the month usually reserved for breast cancer awareness. Indeed, the "pinking of America" has engulfed the U.S. and has turned from an awareness campaign to a multi-million dollar industry. Not to really jump ahead, but in November, we'll see the month-long awareness campaign for prostate cancer, Movember, where the mustache shines in all its glory.

But this anti-smoking campaign is new. As the non-profit ad campaign source relates, this positive, uppity awareness campaign is unlike the current shock, in-your-face ads we are becoming accustomed to. We even watched the press conference months ago when the U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Sebilius announced the move to the hard-hitting ads. The source notes too that the UK's NHS did the same thing. The NHS ran some ads that were tough to watch, and now they are deciding to move onto something a little more positive.

See the NHS go from this: 

To its latest #Stoptober ad:

Quite the switch, yes?

The spot brings out that if a smoker quits for 28 days, they are five times more likely to stop smoking for good. But will the campaign work? Consumer behavior research clearly indicates that negative reinforcement (whether people like it or not) works better than positive. Though people may clamor about the hard-hitting ads, perhaps it is because it brings to mind that what they are doing hurts the people around them. Yes, it is no fun being the bearer of bad or gloomy news, but in these cases, gloomy news works.

We'll see how long NHS keeps up the positivity.

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About the Author
Dwayne W. Waite Jr. is partner and principal at JDW: The Charlotte Agency, a marketing and advertising shop in Charlotte, NC. He enjoys consumer behavior, economics, and football.
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