British Heart Foundation

The health charity's latest online campaign emphasised the money smokers could save by quitting the habit, using the image-recognition tool Blippar to make the information accessible by iPhone and Android app

BHF's 30 No Smoking Days Later campaign
BHF's 30 No Smoking Days Later campaign

What is it?

The British Heart Foundation launched an online campaign to coincide with No Smoking Day on 13 March. The campaign uses an iPhone and Android app that allows smokers to scan cigarette packets using their phones and see what they could purchase with the money they saved by quitting.

The app uses the image-recognition tool Blippar, which is activated when a cigarette packet is held in front of the phone’s video viewfinder and the health warning is scanned. The image of the packet then goes up in smoke and colourful images pop up to illustrate what smokers could buy with the savings if they quit – for example, tickets to a show after 12 weeks, a wide-screen television after 30 weeks and a dream holiday after a year.

How did the BHF come up with the idea?

Maura Gillespie, head of policy and advocacy at the British Heart Foundation, says: "Research for our report 30 No Smoking Days Later found that traditional warnings of health risks are often less effective at motivating smokers to quit, so we chose to focus on saving money." The report says that more than half of smokers hate being told about the health risks of smoking because they are already aware of them.

Gillespie adds: "By embracing innovative technologies, we hope to reach new audiences and engage smokers from an ‘app savvy’ generation."

How would you describe the response so far?

Gillespie says: "We’ve had a fantastic response, with cigarette packs being ‘blipped’ at least 4,500 times on No Smoking Day itself. The campaign trended on Twitter and our website had more than 12,000 visits, a 240 per cent increase on last year."

How is it being promoted?

The promotion strategy used a combination of conventional and digital media. National health and technology journalists working in broadcast, print and online were approached. The campaign was also promoted on Facebook, Twitter and Google.

Which other agencies were involved

The BHF worked with Blippar, a US company, to develop the ‘blipp’. UK-based agency Wonky Films produced a YouTube video to publicise the campaign and Wee Creative designed the report.

Third Sector's verdict

It’s an innovative campaign that aims to tackle a long-running public health issue by appealing to smokers’ desire to save money rather than improve their health. The image-recognition tool is cutting-edge and the design of the items appearing on screen is visually striking. Having watched the video, however, it’s not clear to us exactly how much money would be saved within different time-frames.

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