Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care: Quit the Denial

Paul Forrest

Campaign details

Brand owner: Government of Ontario
Agency: BBDO
Brand: Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care
Country: Canada

Executive summary

This case study shows how the government of Ontario, Canada, created their 'Quit the Denial' campaign in order to save as many lives as possible, and potentially over C$300m in healthcare money, by getting 'social smokers' to quit before they became addicted.

The campaign took these smokers out of their comfort zone by using humorous analogies to show how ridiculous their use of the word 'social' was when using it to justify smoking.

Strangely, no anti-smoking campaign had ever tackled this key intervention before but there was one major drawback: how do you convince someone to stop doing something when they won't admit that they're even doing it? They weren't 'smoking' after all, they were 'social smoking'.