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Make Them Pay

by Cancer Research UK

Summary of work

Make Them Pay

Research commissioned by Cancer Research UK highlighted that young people are apathetic towards the tobacco industry and aren’t aware of the huge health and economic burden that it places on society. On behalf of Cancer Research UK, we strived to challenge this social norm by developing a digital media campaign that shone a light on the damage the tobacco industry causes and exposing some of the shocking facts it would rather keep hidden.

We partnered with spoken word artist, Suli Breaks, to create a potent piece of spoken word video content that highlights the harsh truths about the tobacco industry. The content takes the viewer from being in the dark about how the tobacco industry benefits from selling a product that kills up to 2 in 3 long-term smokers1,2, to being armed with knowledge and giving them a clear mechanism to enable them to express their concern, ie signing the Cancer Research UK petition*.

The video received an impressive 2,237,325 views in just 4 weeks. The petition smashed its target by over 6,000 sign-ups with a total of 16,601 signatures and was taken to Parliament to be considered by Chancellor George Osborne in his budget review.

* The petition demands that the government imposes a £500 million levy on the tobacco industry's market share in the UK.

1 Doll R et al (2004) Mortality in relation to smoking: 50 years' observations on male British doctors, BMJ 2004 328,1519

2 Pirie K et al (2012) The 21st century hazards of smoking and benefits of stopping: a prospective study of million women in the UK, The Lancet, Volume 381 Issue 9861 133-141. 

Judges' comments

This was a really engaging campaign with a very clear message and strong call-to-action. It produced solid outcomes in a really simple way and utilised a punchy video to great effect. The team defined their data, understood what the outcomes required were and then went a step further to address behavioural change with a well thought-through, evidence-based and creative piece. The work, which also avoided clichés and stereotypes, is the sort of campaign that leading digital marketers should be pushing for.


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