AMV lands pounds 50m no-smoking blitz

Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO has won the job of spearheading the Government’s massive campaign to persuade millions of Britons to quit smoking.

Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO has won the job of spearheading the

Government’s massive campaign to persuade millions of Britons to quit


Ministers are plunging a record pounds 50 million over the next three

years into an anti-smoking drive with above-the-line advertising

expected to get the lion’s share of the budget.

Neither AMV nor the Department of Health would confirm the appointment

as Campaign went to press.

But industry sources say that the agency has beaten WCRS, Duckworth Finn

Grubb Waters, FCA! and Delaney Fletcher Bozell to the assignment.

For AMV, the win means the opportunity to transfer its existing Health

Education Authority anti-smoking account on to a much larger stage with

a much bigger adspend to support it.

The recent decision by ministers to transfer control of HEA campaigns to

the Central Office of Information (Campaign, last week) is an indication

of their seriousness about tackling smoking and extending the message

beyond those who are converted to people most resistant to it.

The size of the offensive suggests that Labour wants to move in on the

country’s 13 million smokers as the tobacco ad ban kicks in. Billboard,

newspaper and magazine promotion of tobacco products will be banned in

Britain from 10 December.

Above-the-line advertising as well as direct mail and sales promotion

will all be employed against the UK’s smokers with the aim of cutting

the 120,000 smoking-related deaths each year.

The campaign is a response to fears that the downward trend in smoking

since the 60s is levelling out as increasing numbers of young people

take up the habit.

Under-16s who smoke will be an important target group along with poor

communities and women who smoke during pregnancy.

In its White Paper - titled Smoking Kills - published in December last

year, the Government pointed to research showing that intensive

campaigns could shift behaviour and reduce smoking.

By 2010, it wants to see the numbers of adult smokers reduced from 28 to

24 per cent, child smokers from 13 to 9 per cent, and pregnant women

smokers from 23 to 15 per cent.

The most recent anti-smoking work through AMV has been a radio and TV

campaign featuring harrowing testimonials of real people whose health

has been destroyed by heavy smoking.

And in March, the agency marked ’No Smoking Day’ with a London

Underground poster campaign that targeted female vanity.


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