Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care
Be a Failure
Despite significant progress in curbing the use of tobacco products, tobacco-related disease results in 13,000 deaths in Ontario and $2.2 billion in direct healthcare expenses every year.
While almost half (48%) of 18 to 34-year-old smokers say they “seriously intend to quit within the next two to three months,” this doesn’t result in action: only a small percentage make an honest attempt to quit.
The Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care set out to encourage quit attempts among regular smokers age 18 to 34 to help reduce Ontario’s smoking rate as well as raise awareness of the resources and support system available to those trying to quit.
The target faces immense societal pressure to quit, and has seen all the scare tactics. More of the same wasn’t going to work. Research uncovered a powerful insight: smokers who intend to quit have often tried before and failed. It was fear of failure that was holding them back from their next attempt. What they didn’t realize was that the data shows it can take as many as 30 attempts to succeed, and multiple attempts are in fact normal, not something to be fearful or ashamed of.
So the strategy was to drive total reappraisal of how smokers feel about failure. Rather than see it as an embarrassing weakness, BBDO would help the organization transform failure to be a normal, necessary and noble part of the quitting journey.
It was a revolutionary thought that presented a relevant new message to people. In a category of “seen it all before” messages, Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care would be the first jurisdiction in the world to embrace failure.
The communications strategy was focused on reaching the target where they’re commonly found engaging in smoking. Smokers are hardly ever seen outside for a smoke without browsing their smartphones. This led the team to a communications strategy that was primarily online with a strong mobile focus.
The campaign consisted of digital video, display ads, social posts on Facebook and Twitter, resto-bar and on-campus OOH posters, and influencer engagement.
This fresh and unexpected strategy resulted in behavioural change metrics that exceeded the benchmark for every execution. The campaign dramatically increased desire to make a quit attempt: 81% of smokers 18 to 34 who saw the campaign said that the advertising made them think seriously about trying to quit smoking; 83% said the campaign made them think differently about failure; 87% said it made them understand that failure is a normal part of the quitting process.
These scores were significantly higher than Ministry of Health benchmarks and the campaign drove people to action. Visits and time spent on the Ministry of Health site dramatically increased: consideration of the Ministry of Health site for quitting resources grew from 12% to 28% following the campaign. And 69% who saw any ads during the campaign period were significantly more likely to have deliberately sought out information on quitting compared to 38% who did not see any ads. Time spent on the site was more than 3x above norm at 6:06 versus 1:59 minutes.
Campaign title: Be a Failure
Brand: Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care
Agency: BBDO Toronto - Flare
CCO: Denise Rossetto
CCO: Todd Mackie
VP, ACD, Art Director: Joel Pylypiw
VP, ACD, Copywriter: Chris Booth
VP, Group Account Director: Jennifer Jones
Account Director: Paul Forrest
Strategist: Zach Kula
Executive Producer: Dave Lembke
Production Company: Hidden Trail Media
Producer: David Stulberg
Director: Jordan Dashner
DOP: Peter Hadfield
Post House: Rooster Post
Executive Producer: Melissa Khan
Editor: Colin Murdock
Audio Houses: Cylinder Sound & Vintage Lane Audio