For a long time it has puzzled me that despite what Science knows, Government Health departments do something contrary with their health warnings on cigarettes and other tobacco products. These have long seemed counter-healthy to me, in that they seem to serve to reinforce the negative effects of smoking. I understand that the reasoning behind the disturbing images and statements of the effects of smoking is likely to be to evoke aversion and fear in smokers, but do they actually work? My concern has been that there is an equal if not greater danger in convincing the smoker that they are universally true, given that the power of belief, of ‘mind over matter’ such as is observed in the placebo effect, can bring about real physical changes in our bodies. (For more information see: http://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/complementary-alternative-medicine/Pages/placebo-effect.aspx
No wonder then, that this enlightened video advertisement produced for the Thai Health Promotion Foundation has been hailed by many as “the best anti-smoking ad ever,” winning the 2012 Bronze Cannes Award.
It is certainly the smartest campaign in its category that I have ever seen, with the most promising approach. Why? – because it is designed to elicit change from within the individual by raising awareness and getting them to challenge their own thinking and behaviour around smoking. And that is how and where any real change in behaviour happens, in any area of life.