The final chapter in smoking

In a slightly belated post (I’m ashamed to admit that this campaign launched in early February of this year), I want to draw your attention to this unique and ingenious stop-smoking campaign by Iris.

The campaign was for anti-smoking charity Quit UK, and was timed for when many smokers’ New Year’s resolution to stop begin to weaken- that bleak February period (a mean but sneaky strategy!). Iris decided to target this audience through books, bizarrely enough. I imagine that this enabled them to reach a mixed book-loving demographic, but also operate as a means of catching peoples’ attention and creating that much-needed buzz to startle smokers out of the cigarette withdrawal and addiction trap. Therefore at the heart of Iris creative Nick Clemens’ campaign is the sense of surprise as readers discover a Quit UK insert in the pages of their book, aptly enough prior to the last chapter- encouraging smokers to quit BEFORE that fatal end. As such, the insert reads “The end. If you smoke, statistically your story will end 15% before it should. For help with quitting call the Quitline on 0800 002200.” I like its short and sweet brevity, and the clever play on the concept of ‘the end’ (i.e. in other words- stop smoking or your life will be cut shorter).

The Quit UK campaign by Iris, targeting book-lovers

However, what I love most about this campaign is its unusual and unregulated ‘sense of flow’- meaning that one of these inserts could end up anywhere. Iris placed inserts in a number of books in second-hand bookshops, Quit UK’s charity shops, coffee shops, community centres, book-vending machines and book clubs. Therefore, it is a little like a larger and more sinister version of Charlie’s and the chocolate factory’s golden ticket; as they could almost certainly end up with a non-smoker (or even non-chocoholic) too. I like the randomness and chance of this direction of the advertising, as the campaign uses the power of word of mouth that crucially will ensure the message gets passed on. Would I (even as a non-smoker) be surprised enough to receive an insert in my book to then tell the person next to me… you betcha!


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