From september 21, local smokers will be hit by a startling new ad campaign from NHS Birmingham East and North (UK), challenging them to fight back and stop smoking.
The posters springing up all over the area will be hard to miss. Seen everywhere from shopping centres to Birmingham City and Aston Villa’s grounds on match weekends, they show the face of a bloodied and beaten up man with taglines like, “Smoking. GBH to your insides”; “When you smoke, it’s your insides that get beaten up” and “Cigarettes attack you. But in ways you don’t always see”.
And in two weeks’ time, as leaflets and posters go into up to 900 local venues, a shocking film made by celebrity photographer and director Rankin will up the ante even further. Featuring a smoker being beaten to a pulp by an invisible assailant, it will hit the streets on mobile exhibition units where people can get further information and test their carbon monoxide levels or lung age.
Securing Rankin’s services in making a film that is sure to shock and intrigue in equal measure, especially for free, is a major coup for the campaign. Rankin and co-director Chris Cottam said: “The forcefulness of the message and the way it didn’t flinch from the hideous truth appealed to us. As with a lot of our work we like people to react to it and have an opinion about it. We really hope the film has an impact on those who watch it. If one person gives up smoking as a result then it will have achieved its aim.”
Catherine Tomaney, Head of Stop Smoking Service NHS Birmingham East and North said: “We have launched this hard hitting campaign to encourage more people to stop smoking. We know that there is as much as six years’ difference in life expectancy across east and north Birmingham and smoking plays an important part in this. By reaching the most affected areas with a strong and motivating message, we can reduce smoking and address the critical health problems associated with it.”
By concentrating the campaign on Shard End, Kingstanding, Tyburn, Stockland Green, Washwood Heath, Hodge Hill, Acocks Green, Erdington, South Yardley, Stechford and Yardley North and Sheldon, the trust hopes to make a significant impact on its population’s health. These areas not only have a high smoking prevalence but also suffer greatly from the measurable health inequalities including the highest overall, cancer and respiratory mortality rates, as well as the greatest incidence of cancer, stroke, respiratory, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, chronic heart disease and emergency hospital admissions.
NHS Birmingham East and North (UK)
Creative agency: Dr Foster
Copywriter: Huw Rowlands
Art director: Joanna Mawtus
Planner (creative agency): Richard Longworth
Media agency: TCS Media
Planner (media agency): Bob Marley
Director: Rankin and Chris Cottam
Production company: HSI
Editor: Gareth McEwen at The Whitehouse
Post-production companies: Prime Focus
Audio post-production company: Blue Post