NiQuitin, one of the brands of smoking cessation aids in the market, helps smokers beat their cigarette addiction via Nicotine Replacement Therapy. The brand faced the challenge of various restrictions on advertising and promotion directly to consumers, a regulation enforced by the Ministry of Health on certain categories of over-the-counter medicines. The agency was tasked to execute a campaign that would create affinity and trust for the NiQuitin brand, without directly promoting the brand itself, working together with creative, digital and media buying agencies.
Agency conceptualised a Quit Smoking Challenge with the Ministry of Health as a supporting partner. News releases were disseminated at regular intervals to update the media on the progress of the campaign, from the launch to the closing ceremony. Selected participants were interviewed to create additional publicity for the campaign. Media publicity was further supported by on-the-ground publicity, a call for participation and radio promotions for the Quit Smoking Challenge. Applications were accepted at roadshows and online. Following preliminary screening and two briefing sessions for shortlisted candidates, 15 long-term heavy smokers were selected as participants based on level of commitment and willingness to participate in campaign activities. To maximise benefits of proper NiQuitin use, participants consulted a pharmacist for the accurate prescription and they also had weekly follow-up consultations. Several get togethers and speaking activities were held to promote camaraderie and create platforms for publicity. For example, a talk by an expert in smoking cessation was organised at a national mosque during Friday prayers to help with smoking abstinence while encouraging quitting smoking during Ramadan. For greater public engagement, all participants submitted weekly blog posts on their progress and selected ones also recorded radio testimonials. The public were involved as they were asked to leave messages of support and the best one each week received a prize. An official website for the Quit Smoking Challenge was set up during the duration of the campaign to allow the public to follow the progress of the participants and interact with them.
Thirteen of the 15 participants successfully quit smoking and the other two succeeded in cutting down on their cigarette intake. All participants have voluntarily made efforts to promote the use of NiQuitin for smoking cessation, independently referred to themselves as ambassadors for NiQuitin and have expressed interest in providing testimonials and serving as spokespersons for any future editions of the Quit Smoking Challenge. The participants also prepared a surprise ‘Thank You’ banner for the organisers, indicating the positive impact of the campaign on their individual lives. The Quit Smoking Challenge website recorded a total of 42,205 page views and 9,414 unique visitors over 6 months. The blog posts by the participants achieved over a thousand Facebook likes over the duration of the campaign. Sales and enquiries on NiQuitin at pharmacies increased in the campaign period and after.