Department of Health: NHS Smokefree SMS Service

Kitcatt Nohr Digitas

The team

Phil Cragg, Flic Theobald, James Balmond, Caroline Fox, Adrian Robertson.

Other contributor:

Call Credit.

How did the campaign make a difference?

This campaign proved that great copywriting can inspire people to live healthier, longer lives. 6,025 smokers signed up for SMS support. After four weeks 1,211 (20%) of registrants were still smokefree.

What details of the strategy make this a winning entry?

The Txt2stop trial conducted by Dr Cari Free, from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, showed that SMS support helped 11% of smokers to quit, compared with 5% of a control group. The NHS Smokefree pilot SMS service messaging framework was based on behavioural change thinking from leading smoking cessation experts, including Dr Robert West from University College London. It set out motivational and practical support under four behavioural change pillars, informed by insights from Dr Free. Messages were matched to crisis points when lapses are most likely to occur, and the triggers (e.g. boredom or peer pressure) associated with these times. Participants could also access on-demand messages to help with lapses, cravings, and worries about weight gain. Because smokers are five times more likely to quit for good if they get through the first 28 days, 80% of messages were sent in that crucial period.

How did creativity bring the strategy to life?