Smoking PSA gets a little Passive-Aggressive

Nothing says passive-aggressive like someone coughing around someone who is smoking, but what happens when it is actually a billboard doing the coughing? Well in an effort made by Swedish pharmaceutical company, Apoteket Hjärtat, and the agency, Åkestam Holst, they believe it will bring just the right amount of shame to smokers in order for them to think about quitting their life-threatening habit.

The billboards targets smokers with smoke sensing technology, when it senses that a smoker is near by the screen will show someone coughing as well as a sound effect as well. This campaign urges people to quit smoking, not sending the traditional messages about hot it is bad for your health, but by the creating an experience that makes them socially aware of how non smokers feel when they around people who smoke. From a business standpoint, the Swedish company is trying to get people to buy their product to help them quit smoking.

This campaign makes sense for the company, because many companies focus on the medical benefits of quitting smoking, but there is also a social stigma as well. The value it adds is incentive. Nobody wants to be the person that causes others t be uncomfortable, and with making smokers aware that they are making people uncomfortable, it gives the smoker social incentive to quit.

The benefit for using a billboard for this campaign is that it reaches a mass amount of people, the benefit of placing it in large urban areas is that it reaches a large amount of smokers, making it a personal experience. A way that Apoteket Hjärtat can measure the success of this campaign is with the amount of sales received from medicine that helps smokers quit.

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