'Take back control'
'Take back control'

Publicis Dublin’s new campaign for the HSE aims to motivate smokers to take back control and give up smoking with the help of the Quit service. In the ads, nicotine has been personified to show smokers through the human traits of manipulation and controlling behaviour, the hold it can have on them, and vitally, the release they will feel when they quit.

Nicotine is personified as ‘a friend’ who in reality is a bad influence.

Ronan Nulty, executive creative director, Publicis Dublin, said that with this campaign they took the metaphor of a toxic friendship, something most of us can relate to and showed that when we ignore something that has a certain level of control over us – in this case nicotine – we gain a lot more than we lose by getting free of them.

Chloe Hanratty, the agency’s head of strategic planning, said that to provoke behavioural change they looked at smoking through the smoker’s eyes. “We want to address their perceived benefits of smoking,” Hanratty said. “This approach intends to reflect a smoker’s quitting journey, making people aware of the way nicotine manipulates the brain.”

It should prompt consideration of a quit attempt and encourage people to avail of HSE support. Business director Karen Muckian said 18 per cent of Ireland’s population still smoke. “The Quit service genuinely helps. We’re hopeful that we can really strike a chord with people and drive further awareness of the support that’s out there,” Muckian added.

Aghna Harte, head of campaigns, HSE Communications, said that since 2011, the Quit campaign has helped thousands of people with, evidence-based supports. ‘Take Back Control’ responds to research with smokers, reflecting the reality, that smoking is an addiction that’s hard to walk away from. Quitting is not easy but it is achievable with the right support.

Watch the ad here