Cancer Research UK | Breath Test

Cancer Research UK launched ‘The Breath Test’ – an outdoor, experiential, social, guerrilla, press and radio campaign. ‘The Breath Test’ aimed to promote the effectiveness of local Stop Smoking Services to smokers who’d like to quit.
AMV BBDO and Cancer Research UK created a series of executions across multiple channels that puts smokers to the test.
Posters at bus stops and in shopping centres were created that invited passers-by to take a deep breath and read the text on them aloud, in one go, without stopping. The visual style mimicked the typography and graphic design of a cigarette pack health warning. A bespoke 6 sheet that people can interact was also created. It was the very first digital poster to use breath to reveal a message on screen; the longer people blew, the more of the ad was revealed. The idea was activated in partnership with Clear Channel, Grand Visual and MediaCom UK. It aims to highlight the link between smoking and diminished lung capacity, encouraging smokers to seek the help they need to quit for good. The game was also translated into a Facebook execution, allowing people to play along on their phone. The radio ad hears an actual smoker try to perform the whole ad in one breath. The guerrilla executions interrupt smokers with the message in places they’d be likely run out of breath – with bespoke ads for football stadiums, dog bins and parks, churches and even condoms!
The campaign used the breath game to engage smokers in a variety of places, helping deliver our message that local Stop Smoking Services gives them the best chance of quitting for good. A lot of advertising in this area focuses on health harms, the often gory consequences of being a smoker, with images of tar in lungs and mutating cancer cells. However this campaign took a different approach. We didn’t simply need to provoke consideration about quitting, it needed to motivate smokers in looking for a solution. So rather than scaring smokers into action, it simply invites them to play a game – to see just how much they can say in one breath. In the process they have taken in ‘The Breath Test’s’ messaging and have understood it in a way they had never done before, without feeling ashamed about their habit. A completely unique approach in anti-smoking communication.


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