Saturday, 13 January 2007

Disgraceful NHS Anti-Smoking Advert

by Charles Pooter

I was on my way to the barbers this morning when I saw this monstrosity displayed on a huge billboard in my neighbourhood:

No doubt there are a bunch of coke-snorting wankers in some Soho ad agency who are congratulating themselves for getting this shocking and "boundary-pushing" ad on the streets. Well congratulations to them and to Titan for inflicting this brutal image on people whose surroundings are often grim enough already. And congratulations to Caroline Flint, the Health Minister who launched the campaign:
These adverts highlight the controlling message of tobacco. We know 70% of smokers would like to give up.
Well Caroline, I'm more worried about the "controlling message" of your Government, who seem intent on bullying people with violent and disturbing imagery. How many of these ads are going up in your own constituency? Would you like to leave your house and see that every day? No doubt you'd be the first one moaning if Benetton put up "hard-hitting" billboards near primary schools, so why is it OK for the NHS to do so? Where is your evidence that this kind of campaign even works?


Ted Hoffman said...

Surely Charles, if it stops just one person from enjoying a cigarette then it's worth it

Anonymous said...

Try explaing the image to 6 year old who is clearly disturbed by seeing it on the billboard. I am a nonsmoker. those who smoke should have a choice on what they want to do with their bodies. There wont be an NHS when they develop lung cancer in 10-15 year time and will have to sell their house to pay for treatment.

Charles Pooter said...

anonymous: Thanks for the comment. I think Ted was being sarcastic (right Ted?). Why do people always feel the need to say they are a non-smoker before defending the freedom of smokers to smoke?

Edwin Hesselthwite said...

Leaving the politics aside for a second, lets talk about the design angle...

I was thinking about this particularly gruesome advert when I realised what it reminded me of - The first CD I ever bought. Yes, it bears a marked similarity to the cover of Nevermind by Nirvana.

The NHS advert (although I am surprised it is from the NHS, Doctors, Administrators and healthcare workers don't sound like the sort... This sounds like a Civil Servant abusing the NHS's brand for health promotion) is also an image where a fish hook is added to a pre-existing photo to give it some dramatic effect. In both cases the fish hook is poorly superimposed and has a little too much shine. In both cases it looks a bit cheap.

Since I remember the Nirvana design came from a picture Dave Grohl and Kurt Cobain saw and added the hook to (I read too much music journalism in my youth) I would like to take this opportunity to encourage The Cobain Estate and Dave Grohl's agency to sue the asses of these melodramatic, plagiarising mother-fuckers...

Anonymous said...

ovhztyour all a bunch of stuck up idiots, i can just tell, you need to get in to the real world, its just a fishing hook in someones lip!
at least the message is getting through to people who need the help to stop smoking.

you sound pretty selfish to me, this could stop more people from dieing and your just complaining that you have to walk past it.

you should start to care about other people more not just yourself.

Pritchard Buckminster said...

Ah the lost art of debate. Punctuation too, for that matter. You just know that when someone opens with an insult and signs “anonymous” you’re going to be in for a real battle of wits. To address the er, ‘points’ using simple low content answers as is clearly appropriate to this level of discourse:
A fishing hook through the cheek would be an awful and barbarically torturous thing to do so, “just a fishing hook”?
The message is through. Hello. It’s not rocket science is it? There are at least two ex-smokers on this blog and I can personally state that nothing made me want to pick up a cigarette more than this patronizing holier than thou crap like the previous comment.
Smokers neither want nor need the pity of the non-smokers. They are not some Morlock like sub-class of people without any power to control their own destiny.
If this saves more lives than those that could be saved by, for example, putting the huuuge amount of money spent towards making cigarettes much harder to purchase and offering completely free NRT then I will personally sit down and eat a carton of smokes. Naked. In a bath of J. Prescott’s spittle.
You’re a twunt. Stick to downloading porn.

Anonymous said...

Completely agree with Charles Pooter and other comments here against this reprehensible, ad agency ego massaging NHS campaign. It's shock tactics are clearly designed to draw attention to itself rather than the message, so in that respect it utterly fails as a piece of effective communication.

What bothers me more though is how I explain the images to my 6 and 9 year old daughters who are indiscriminately exposed to these horrific images on large billboards through my city and even in an ASDA car park!

Ill conceived, poorly thought through, blindly adopted – at the tax payers expense.

Penguin Trauma said...

Seen the advert - it has absolutely no effect on me whatsoever.

First time I quit smoking was after seeing the cigeratte "clogged up with fat" adverts...I didn't smoke for two months.

Second time, which is now, was after reading the Allen Carr Easyway book.... yeah, I still get the odd craving, but its not too traumatic, and I haven't smoked for three weeks now.

Anonymous said...

I cant believe your kicking up a fuss because the NHS are trying to stop people dying, when they dont use these shocking adverts they just get ignored. Smoking is selfish and personally i think it should be illegal, not only does it kill innocent people (passive smoking), it totally destroys friends and familys lives when they find out your going to die from lung cancer. Yes these adverts are disturbing, but it works and if you think they shouldn't be used, then you're potentially killing all those people who see the adverts and QUIT.

Sophie said...

Its ads like this which work well on making the public take a moment and think about what they are doing.
That's the aim of this ad and thats what it does.
Its a visual representation of what smoking does to people. people end up hooked.
This imagery faces the truth rather than paint a pretty, unreal picture.

Shadz said...

Its so great to see you all interested in this campaign as im actually researching it for the final part of my A Level Media project.
I personally thought that the advert does it purpose, it shocks you! Shock tactics have been used in adverts for years now, especially in regards to smoking; Remember the 2002 'Fat Outta Cigarette' adverts.. and that won awards!!
But really i would like to know
-How effective are the shock tactics used in the recent anti smoking adverts?
- (if you are a smoker) Did watching these adverts inspire you in your decsion to quit smoking?

Thanks for all of your help, and i look forward to hearing all of your opinions!!!

Tobias Gregson said...


I feel sorry for you. Instead of teaching you proper English, your teachers have spent the last eight years of your life lying to you.

The state is not your friend.

The state is a parasite that will use any excuse to dominate you and steal your freedom. It will pretend to care about your health or education or whatever, but it doesn't care about you: it only cares about power. Power for the politicians and pen-pushers who are its real constituents.

It has fooled you into thinking you are getting an education, when really you are just being kept off the unemplyoment statistics.

Resist the state Shadene! Remove your blindfold. Live for yourself. Don't be an accomplice in the state's machinations. How dare they lie to you! How dare they brutalize our urban environments with propaganda telling us what we should do with the our own bodies.

The state is not your friend Shadene, resist it!

Your friend,

Edwin Hesselthwite said...

And today was 11 pence on cigarettes day in Brown's Budget... Don't you just love it when The State looks after you?

Oceania has always been at war with Eurasia!

Shadz said...

Hi all..
in regards to tobias's comment.. as much as id like to sit here and rebel against society, it isnt possible! it has been drummed into people of my age for so long that education is the way forward, the only way to suceed in life without conforming to the pressure that are surrounding us (drugs, gangs etc) and whilst i dont fully believe this; education does seem to be the only thing that will push me forward in life.
So thanks for your comment.. it really did make me laugh.. but if you know of any other way for me to get a job in the mdeia industry without any qualiifications.. Please Let Me Know!!
On a different note.. THE ADVERT!! any more comments??
Shadz xx

Tobias Gregson said...


Alright, I will answer you previous questions directly:

1. How effective are the shock tactics used in the recent anti smoking adverts?

If their intention was to inspire murderous hate of everyone involved in the creation and distribution of these disgusting eyesores, they were very effective.

If their intention was to make me ignore my 20 year cough and carry on smoking my pipe whilst resolutely raising two fingers to all scumbag media-types and their state paymasters, they were very effective.

If their intention was to make me give up my habit, a habit that brings me joy despite its obvious detriment to my health, they were not at all effective.

2. (if you are a smoker) Did watching these adverts inspire you in your decsion to quit smoking?[sic]

I would not want to be an executive in a tobacco company, knowing that my products cause death and misery to thousands, but at least I could rest easy in the knowledge that it is the right of every human to "go to hell in his own way". These advertisments have just strengthened my resolve to carry on with my habit.

Anyone who is convinced by Government propaganda to change their habits is a sheep and should have their franchise removed.

Your friend,

Edwin Hesselthwite said...

Cheers for the second response Shadz, you sound like a good sport. Do excuse Mr Gregson: charming he is, polite he is not.

In response to your queries:

1. How effective are the shock tactics used in the recent anti smoking adverts?

I've never been a smoker, but the government tradition of Hard Hitting advertising is long and tedious. Smoking is their new bugbear, better to look at the long succession of speeding infoverts (a word as ugly as their purpose) to see these advertising execs getting wet at the idea of a government grant. These wankers are engaged in an arms race in terms of offence, and it isn't acceptable.

2. (if you are a smoker) Did watching these adverts inspire you in your decsion to quit smoking?[sic]

I've never been a smoker... And these adverts really, really piss me off. These bastards have already won the war over the smoking ban, they've already turned smokers into a barely acceptable minority. I have been known to enjoy the odd Arabian Nargile, an experience this smoking ban is going to obliterate. This is beating their chosen victim when he's already dead. But no Ad Exec is going to miss the chance to win awards just because they've already won.

In a further note, this relatively minor LMWN post has generated a massive amount of interest (we somehow became number one link on google for "Hook Advert Smoking") and I think that really shows the strength of feeling on both sides of this issue.

Everyone needs to relax a little... How about a Marlboro light?

Pritchard Buckminster said...


I quit smoking (several times actually) using a variety of methods. The one that finally worked was a combination of NRT and a new woman in my life with a surprisingly loud voice. At no point during the time that I was not quitting was I unaware of (a) my addiction, (b) the cost of fags, or (c) the inherent health problems. If you can accurately describe the percentage of smokers that ARE unaware of these things then that becomes your target demographic for this type of campaign. I respectfully submit that there cannot possibly be a single person now unaware of the impact of their smoking and that, therefore, the continuation of said habit is due to other factors. The return on a campaign of this type must therefore be vanishingly small and, before the "but if you can save one life" brigade jump in, therefore this money could be better spent. This is, for me anyway, the core of the issue; the hypocritical and aimless manner in which this Government maintained bigotry is managed.

Anonymous said...

its shit bags like you that piss me off, im only researching this advert for coursework and come across your blog.. not usually would i waste my time to write such a message but feel there is the need as you havetaken so much time to create such up in your own worlds you dont give a shit about anyone else! yes the government is a fucking mess but at least the NHS are trying to do something! too bludy right the smoking ban should have been put in place! you dirty smokers inflict your cancer sticks on everyone else! like a previous person wrote if this advert can save one persons life then so be it, and im sure its saving many more! the advert was created to try and stop people smoking, the use of shock advertisment is the only effective resource we have left in modern society as everyone is so desensitised by the rest of the medias violence. this advert shocks people, including people like yourself at first i might add, if it shocks it effects therefore less cancer sufferers therefore less death and less money being spent in hospitals and more in laboratorys trying to find a cure for all the poor people you lot kill along with yourselves who dont smoke! 3 members of my family are dying from cancer and its shits like you that will smoke all you lives and wont get cancer! open your eyes and look outside your own lives.. its a big fucking world with alot of suffering! stop being so fucking selfish and start realising!

Ted Hoffman said...

19 comments, including this one, and the last angry one. I believe that is a new record!

Pritchard Buckminster said...

Wasted time indeed mr anonymous. I am going to have to assume that the angry post was a joke flaming seeing as nobody could actually be that amusingly incoherent. The whole point of this is that many of us have gone through the process of quitting so we have a right to comment on the help, or otherwise, offered.

andy joooooooones said...


Anonymous said...

Sarah said: Tobias Gregson is full of s**te! Government propaganda? How is it 'propaganda?’ The advert presents the real brutality of smoking cigarettes, as does other anti-smoking NHS campaign adverts. So why the hell are people complaining about an avert with unpleasant images eh? I’ve watched someone die of lung cancer due to smoking cigarettes, that’s far worse than an advert with unpleasant images. It may not influence the decision of you selfish and stubborn a**e holes, but it could influence the decision of others who may have been previously aware of the dangers in smoking. If the advert only influences the decision of one person, then it has worked. However, I’m sure it has influenced the decision of thousands.
Why should the NHS simply WASTE money on treating those who choose not to listen to health advice given by the NHS, when it could be spent on more relevant things such as research in finding cures and better treatments for say motor neuron disease or other non-smoking related cancers? From your absolutely absurd opinions, I make that you're a dirty smoker with only half-decent qualifications – as you’re so against education. What is with that by the way? It’s basically one of the only ways to get somewhere decent in life (unless you’re an entrepreneur.) Employers don’t want to employ people with no qualifications. Oh and another things…this country is a nanny state, so how exactly is the state not your 'friend?'

Anonymous said...

And to the anonymous user who said "Try explaing the image to 6 year old who is clearly disturbed by seeing it on the billboard" .. that's simple, explain the advert to them..The element of fear is used for a reason within this advert. Whether it be to encourage smokers to stop or to discourage non-smokers not to smoke in their future. (That includes 6 year olds not to smoke in the future!)

Tobias Gregson said...

Sarah, what a fine example of modern English womanhood you are. Reading your drivel makes me curse the name of Emily Pankhurst. It makes my blood boil that you are even allowed to offer your infantile opinions in public, let alone that you are allowed to vote.

You precious NHS is paid for by smokers. If it wasn't for all the loot taken by le regime in the form of tobacco duty, the ridiculous, stalinist, lumbering, behemoth would cost the (increasingly furious) working man even more from his pay packet.

By the way, you are the first person I've seen using the term nanny-state as positive nomenclature. I'm sure I will start seeing this more often. In my darker moments, I hope the green-slime are right and that this island will sink beneath the waves as there are only to be worse days ahead.


Anonymous said...

I agree with sarah. Tobias, you're a sexist twat, you need to get out more.

Anonymous said...

Sarah again: Do you have any female friends or female companions Tobias? No i didn't think so. Who do you think you are with your old, warped, traditional, pathetic, unrealistic views? What makes you think you're better than women? I'd really like to know...

Anonymous said...

Sarah: ohh and about the actual point of the arguement, if smokeers 'paid' for the NHS, why are they is the NHS campaigning against smoking? Clearly they must be spending more money on treating smoking related conditions than they are getting from the tax of people who buy cigarettes.

Tobias Gregson said...

anonymous 4:35 PM,

Your grammar and punctuation is a cut above the other commentators on this article. Well done!

Tobias Gregson said...


I don't believe I am better than the fairer sex. I was merely pointing out that by displaying your shallow perception of the issues, you were making your gender look bad.

By the way, bringing up a dying friend or relative in a political argument is akin to a leper displaying his sores for money. In fact it is worse, because the deceased has no say in the rhetoric deployed.

Michelle said...

Personally, I think that this advert is fantastic. The government have put there money to good use as far as I'm concerned. If it scares 6 year old children into not smoking... fantastic!

Like a previous person commented, the shock tactics work. If these shock tactics help people not to smoke and make people more aware that it is easy to get 'hooked' on smoking, it's only a positive thing.

"A fishing hook through the cheek would be an awful and barbarically torturous thing to do so, “just a fishing hook”?" - a previous sarcastic comment.

I just want to say ... having your lungs taken out and chemotheopy is an awful experience and it feels like torture. DUH!!!

We can't pretend that its not harmful to smoke, both smokers and passive smokers are at risk of falling ill. Any form of advertising to raise awareness of the negative impacts of smoking contribute to our country progressing.

Many people also seem to forget that a lot of tax-payers money gets spent on services such as operations and chemo to get rid of cancer which is caused from people smoking. Less money which is spent on these things... the more money can be put forward to curing other cancers which arent self inflicted.

Smoking isnt neccessary for us to live so why do it?

Anonymous said...

Sarah: Allow me to firstly point out Tobias, my punctuation is fine and I simply made one grammatical error. By the way, what is 'akin?' Don't point out my accidental typing errors when you make them yourself..

My opinion is NOT shallow, it is realistic whereas your argument is ridiculous and I see you haven't commented on the actual point after my previous message? The one about how smokers DO NOT pay for the NHS, but COST them too much. Smokers are a complete and utter waste of beds within hospitals.

And bringing up a 'dying friend or relative' is not like that at all, I was merely making a point of how the cancerous disease is much more displeasing to the eye than the advert, which people have complained about being ‘unpleasant.’ It is an amazing advert.

If you don't mind me asking Tobias, how old are you?

Charles Pooter said...


As much as I am loathe to let facts get in the way of this amusing exchange:

"In 2006-2007, HM Customs collected £8.1 billion in Tobacco Duty. It is projected to collect the same amount in 2008-2008." - Source:$366602.htm

"The most recent estimated cost to the NHS of treating smoking related diseases was for 1997 and was between £1.4 billion and £1.7 billion for England" - Source:

Tobias is of an older generation and so reacts badly when accused of being an "arsehole" or talking "shite".

By the way, you can find the definition of "akin" here:

For future reference, typing words into google will usually yield a definition if the word exists.

Your friend,

Ted Hoffman said...


'Smokers are a complete and utter waste of beds within hospitals.'.

Hmm, I know it is an often observed phenomenon, discussed at length elsewhere, but it still intrigues me how almost all internet based arguments end up being so unpleasant. Even at a site as civilised as LMWN.

I don't suppose Sarah, you would feel so comfortable saying something so lacking in humanity in person? Under attack people often harden their arguments to the point of being ridiculous (I'm sure I've done it many times). I shall assume this is what you have done, Tobias can be quite provocative.

In my own experience, smokers are, more often than not, good people whose illnesses and deaths, even self-inflicted, are tragic.

I don't know the figures, but I suspect most of us contribute to our own deaths one way or another. Sometimes I eat healthily and look twice before crossing a road; sometimes I drive too fast and drink tap water on holiday. If our compassion for the dying was limited to those who unfailingly sought to live risk-free lives we wouldn't have very much.

Regardless, on a purely practical point, smokers can't opt out of funding the NHS and there are only limited alternatives. Many smokers may be perfectly willing to pay for the extra health costs of their lifestyles; but health care in this country, for better or worse, is not set-up to make that an option.

I assume you wouldn't claim that those who are sexually promiscuous or take part in extreme sports are 'a waste of beds within hospitals', or maybe you would?


Pritchard Buckminster said...

No one here is suggesting that smoking is in any way a ‘good’ thing. But it must be understood that neither is it an evil thing if properly dealt with. If, as shown, there is no negative cost element to the NHS then that argument is clearly closed. There is no doubt about the harmful effects but legislation is coming in to ameliorate that by limiting public smoking so, again, that argument starts to lose force. Conversely, an individuals right to choice must be protected.

A personal example if you will stick with me. I like a drink. Quite a lot actually. Really. So, by any standards I must be treated like a smoker if I ever develop liver problems. However, I run marathons and do triathlons and martial arts so my resting heart rate is c. 55 and my cholesterol is nil. Do I look at overweight or unfit people and consign them to the gutter for their stupidity and laziness? Do I say they have no right to MY hospital bed because they’re fat? Damn right I do! If you aren’t AT LEAST as fit as me then you can take your attitude on smoking and shove it because it is blatant hypocrisy. All must be treated equally or graded individually and that is why this program of discrimination is wrong. Its easy to pick on the smokers while you're sat on your arse stuffing yourself with cake.

Anonymous said...

Charles, Internet sources are not always reliable. "In 2006-2007, HM Customs collected £8.1 billion in Tobacco Duty." You don't state what this money is spent on, as I can assure you, not all of this goes to the NHS (which was the point I was aiming to make). Oh and I'm woman and I do not appreciate insulting sexist comments from Tobias the way Tobias may not appreciate being called an arsehole.

Ted, I don’t though, I’m not a hypocrite, I consider myself to be very physically fit, I have a reasonably healthy diet, I exercise regularly, I drink alcohol on rare occasions and I do not smoke. (Although, my health has probably already been affected in someway due to passive smoking). About time the public smoking ban came into action! However, I agree with much of what you have said and you have opened my eyes and I guess people can’t be selective when it comes to health care.

My original argument was that this advert is a good idea and I don't understand why people complain about it. The NHS has to follow Care Value Base in which they have responsibilities of informing people about the health risks of smoking. I'm aware people have rights and the advert does not take those rights way.

Anonymous said...

Everyone is getting so angry on here - chill out people! Its only an advert! I read most comments then got bored of all the bitchyness.
I agree with many - yes it is a powerful ad and works well ( as a graduating graphic designer i can see this) It makes its point. Smokers get "hooked on ciggs" literally! However i do agree it is a bit too harsh for the younger generation to see, i would want to cover my nephews eyes if he looked at this. I couldnt imagen seeing it at asda! I wouldnt want to eat the food i bought after seeing that. Just thought i would leave my opinion.
I think you all need to calm down - its only a debate about an advert!

Tobias Gregson said...

Don't tell me to calm down you little shit! Fuck you and the horse you rode in on

Anonymous said...

I see your all having fun flaming at each other. Has it struck anyone this debate isn't achieving anything? People are still dying.

Tobias Gregson said...

The last comment was months ago, you dunce.

Anonymous said...

And the significance of that is? Theres no need to be rude.

Matt L said...

I don't see the problem with it really. Ok I mean design could have been a bit better but it looks to a child quite funny so no mental trauma there and hey its better than having this up and having to explain it to a child:

devin said...

For years now, the smoker (smokits muchous) has been sentenced to roam the cold streets of cities, littering butts on its sidewalks and passively depleting the ozone layer. But for all our short-comings, we are people too, and besides the obvious reason that we don't have much time left, non-smokers ought to be nice to us for various other reasons.
My filthy habit, is MY filthy habit. I do not judge you on your nuances, and hope to judged in the same uninhibited manner. In a perfect world, I would sue all foul-mouthed non-smokers for discrimination, especially after all that we have borne. We pay high sales taxes for our drug of choice so that some kid somewhere can enjoy an education. Our habit has brightened sports such as F1, Cricket and Soccer to name a few. I would be surprised if Schumacher stood next to me and asked me to stub out my cigarette. With each puff, he saw (until 2006 when cigarette advertisement was banned from F1) a smoke signal shaped as a dollar sign (or deutchsmark or lira). Economically, the world needs us. Philip Morris US accounted for $18,000 million in sales last year. (imagine the tax dollar we give) I can only imagine the number of employees they have. If smokers go extinct, so do jobs and with it college funds, dreams and charity events.
I am not a pro-smoking activist, but I am part of the Smokers against Stupid People (SASP), who unknowingly bash the entire institution of smoking. Wisen up people, without us, the world would be a lot poorer. Without smoking economists would not truly understand the concept of inelastic goods. (maybe they would but not for a commodity that actually harms people). Everyday we find new use for this wonderful drug. Smokers are the watchdogs of crooked streets, as they are the only ones hanging outside at 500am. With a world suffering with over population, they sacrifice themselves by dying at an earlier age.
Personally, if I didn't have smoking, I would sleep a lot more. I would not know half the friends that I do. I would run, aimlessly because I could. I don't get the idea of running. Sport yes, running no. I wouldn't take breaks from work. I wouldn't be outside enjoying the world as much. So please, next time you see a smoker, thank him/her for the sacrifices that they have made, rather than scornfully judge their habit.

Johnny said...

I thought there would be some good points being made on this subject but this pointless arguing is just boring. Grow up a bit please guys...

Louise said...

Oh dear, all the arguing, insults and 'i'm brainier than you because I can spell with no typo errors' has made me forget the actual question that was asked... Oh yes -opinions on the NHS Anti-Smoking campaign!

Advertising is used to communicate a message to as many people as possible, but as we all know there are thousands of adverts that we observe each day, but how many do you actually remember?

The 'Fish Hook' (and other NHS campaigns) is a form of shock advertising to break through the fragmentation of todays media clutter, and therefore is purposely made shocking to make smokers/ex-smokers/people thinking of smoking to remember and reinforce the message - smoking could lead to 'more pain than pleasure'. The shock tactics of the NHS used has caused some strong emotions amoung people which is exactly what its intention is -further publicity of the intended message. Cliche, but bad publicity can be pretty effective - it has all of us discussing it.

One theory by Walster and Festinger (1962) states that people who are aware of the intent to persuade will be less persuadable - therefore iterates those who will smoke in defiance of the adverts intentionally. Some comments above have proven this.

Joffe.H (2008) research has proven that strong emotions such as 'disgust' and 'fear' are used to penetrate and help illustrate the message deeper, evoking cognitive thinking, stronger pathways = remembering advert better etc. NHS campaigns have used this emotion to evoke fear and disgust making sure we remember the advert.

Despite the above, an article in The Times (2008) has argued that although the NHS has spent £500 million on the recent smoking campaigns there has been no discernible impact on the population of smokers in the UK which has stayed at approx 24%.

As a 'social-smoker' I feel these adverts do make me think about smoking and I have definitely remembered most of them while lighting up my next cigarette (a pang on guilt) - especially the clogged up artery mentioned so many times. Infact, I think after conducting some research for a project that it's time to quit. This is my own choice and was not because of the NHS ads we see everywhere.

One question I would like to raise for a research question is whether the recent graphic images on cigarette packets influence smokers in any way to stop? Or do you just turn the packet the other side so you don't have to look?! After all 'ignorance is bliss'!!

Anonymous said...

So you think that the advert is grim, everyone is entitaled to there opinion but its an anti-smoking advert, not an advert for Heroin or inapropriate underwear. You think that things like that shouldn't be shown to the genral public, but think is ok to describe an advertising agency as'a bunch of coke-snorting wankers in soho' in a place were anyone can read it. I get the feeling that you are one of these people that complain just beacuse you can. So stop getting people down 'whose surroundings are often grime enough already!' (C.C. 13)

Anonymous said...

To Tobias. please grow up and take your tin foil hat off.

your friend,


Tobias Gregson said...


I own LPs older than you.

23 skidoo,

Nell said...

I too winced when I saw this ad, and I think it could be effective... the correct number of decades ago, maybe. We're used to shock tactics now.

Example, how many of us are now quite content to sit there watching the charity ads with videos of crying children? How much is it... £2 a month... wonder if I've got time to get a glass of cola 'til the ad break ends...

I'm another nonsmoker, but I really don't think any one image could persuade me to change my lifestyle - much less a metaphor where I have to stop and read the caption to find out how it's even relevant to me.

Anonymous said...

Well said Charles. I often work with Ad agencies and there is an awful lot of coke available.

Anonymous said...

Oh,great, another crappy sign debate.
When you guys and gals get your head out of the shitter, there are some real questions to consider.

Should individual smokers be compensated for smoking related illnesses? How can one prove the illness was caused by smoking? Are smokers responsible for their own misfortunes? Should they be held contributory NEGLIGENT?

If the sign bothers you that much, knock it down physically not orally.

biscuit14 said...

To be honest I don't find this advert offensive in anyway. It is shocking yes but this is what you have to do to stop people from smoking. I just think that the way some people have reacted about this advert is stupid, were a load of wimps here in the UK, if something isn't up to our standards we moan about it! It's ridiculous!

JJ said...

"a bunch of coke-snorting wankers in some Soho ad agency"
What an unbelievably stupid generalisation.

"...your Government, who seem intent on bullying people with violent and disturbing imagery."
No, not bullying. Shocking people into realising how nasty their habit is and how much of a slave to cigarettes they are, yes.

"No doubt you'd be the first one moaning if Benetton put up "hard-hitting" billboards near primary schools, so why is it OK for the NHS to do so?"
Probably going too far if near a primary school, but was it actually near a primary school? You seem to be just babbling here. Also, Benetton and the NHS are completely different, there's no way you can compare them. One would be advertising to sell designer clothes and make a profit, the other is trying to discourage smoking.

"Where is your evidence that this kind of campaign even works?"
Where is the evidence that any campaigns work? I suppose we could google for statistics or something, but I can't seem to find any. Either way, I think it's clear with the response it's got that it has had an effect. Maybe it's unfair for non-smoker's to have to put up with it, but if it has an effect on smokers, I'm fine with it.

Tobias Gregson said...

Dear JJ,

Are you another "media studies" "student" researching for an assignment? If so, get off my lawn!

But, as a pleasant addendum to the above ancient blog post:

I note that the new coalition regime is to cut Government advertising budgets by up to 50%.

As HMG is currently the biggest single advertiser in the UK, to the extent that certain agencies are almost entirely dependent on state commissions, we can expect to see a large number of media wankers out of a job in the near future.

I imagine if I was one of the aforesaid mentioned tosspots, or indeed a student looking to work in that "industry", the stress might be enough to make me take up smoking.

Huzzah! Huzzah!

Toodle pip,

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