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Real Stories
Corinne "Ask others how they quit and learn from their experience."
Robert "I started using the gum. That worked for me."
Ronaldo "Don’t wait until it’s too late to quit."
Michael "Don't give up giving up cigarettes."
Jessica "I was a follower, now I am a leader."
Mike "Smoking had a big effect on my son. I didn't want to disappoint him."
Anika "I promised my dad on his deathbed that I would quit. It took me 13 years, but I did it. "
Representative Cory Atkins "Since quitting, my life is better in 1,000 ways."
Representative Brian Ashe "It was one of the best things I did for myself."

Fight 4 Your Life campaign

Background

In FY 2008, MTCP worked with causemedia to create Fight 4 Your Life, a television, transit, and internet campaign that features real people who battled to quit smoking-real people who fought for their lives.

The Fight 4 Your Life media campaign offered a positive message to smokers, telling them that they can and should quit by publicizing success stories from former smokers. The campaign targeted men and women aged 35-55 who smoke, and aired on broadcast television, cable, and the internet for 12 weeks, from January through March 2008. Fight 4 Your Life was the first state-funded quit-smoking television campaign to be aired in Massachusetts since 2001.

Although smoking rates have fallen dramatically in the past 20 years, smoking rates among low socioeconomic groups remain disturbingly high in Massachusetts and across the country. The Fight 4 Your Life campaign aimed to reach people in these lower-educated and lower-income groups.

Evidence base

For its Fight 4 Your Life campaign, MTCP analyzed Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) data to develop demographic and psychographic profiles of low-income smokers. MTCP then conducted a pre-campaign telephone survey with 2,500 Massachusetts residents to further refine these psychographic profiles, measuring smokers' attitudes and lifestyles based on twelve key variables, including gambling behavior, alcohol and other drug use, anxiety, risk-taking, and other factors.

Once the audience characteristics were established, focus groups were held to define the message. Information from the focus groups provided the impetus for using real former smokers telling their stories and inspired the campaign slogan, Fight 4 Your Life. Quit Now.

MTCP's research showed that men feared disability more than death, and that support was an important part of women's decisions to quit. Ronaldo Martinez, who lost his larynx from smoking, was featured in ads aimed at men. These ads were designed to emphasize disability caused by smoking. Mr. Martinez had first appeared in a series of ads produced by Geovision for MTCP in the late 1990s.

Fight 4 Your Life ads aimed at women were designed to appeal to women's health concerns, but also to offer support and encouragement from other women like themselves who had successfully quit. These campaign ads featured two Massachusetts women who spoke from the heart about what it meant to them to quit smoking.

Featured ex-smokers

The original Fight 4 Your Life ads tied past and present. The umbrella spot reflected successful campaigns that MTCP had run in the past, including the stories of Pam Laffin and Rick and Marie Stoddard.

The new ad spots re-introduced Ronaldo Martinez and brought two new stories to the forefront: Kendyl Davis and Katrina Bergman.

Ms. Davis had started smoking when she was nine years old and had smoked for 33 years. She became ill with bronchitis and asthma, which limited her activities. She described quitting smoking as "the hardest fight ever," but a fight that she won.

Ms. Bergman's story centers on what motivated her to finally quit smoking. Her kids had encouraged her to quit, but it took a diagnosis of COPD to make her realize what she was doing and that she needed to stop. "It wasn't enough for me to quit for the people who love me," she explains. "I had to quit because I love myself."

The Fight 4 Your Life campaign was adapted for local nicotine patch promotions in FY 2009. A message about using the patch to quit smoking was integrated into local billboards, newspaper ads, and radio spots.

The ad campaign also added a new pair of faces for these local promotions, Tito Alvarado and his daughter Lucia. Tito used the patch to quit smoking when his daughter was born. Radio spots, billboards, and other print materials in English and Spanish focused on his motivation to quit for his family, and his success in using medicine to help him quit for good.

Evaluation

All major MTCP media campaigns are evaluated, usually through pre- and post-campaign telephone surveys. Subsequent messages are adapted based on evaluation results.

An independent evaluation of the Fight 4 Your Life campaign based on 3,500 pre- and post-campaign telephone surveys revealed a 9.4% increase in quit attempts among the target audience during the campaign. This increase represents additional quit attempts made by an estimated 60,000 to 100,000 smokers in Massachusetts.

In comparison to all pieces of demographic and lifestyle data, recall of Fight 4 Your Life ads was the factor most highly related to making a quit attempt. Smokers who recalled seeing the ads were 78% more likely to have made a quit attempt than were those who did not recall the ads.

View ads from the Fight 4 Your Life campaign.

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