Cannes Lions

USING TEXT MESSAGING TO HELP SMOKERS QUIT

MMG, Rockville / CANCER INSTITUTE / 2013

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Overview

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Credits

Overview

Execution

After opting into the SmokefreeTXT program, users receive messages scheduled in the system’s behavior-based algorithm. Based on their responses to mood, craving and smoking status messages, users receive customized responses, including cognitively tailored advice from our cessation experts. With every response, the program collects data to help determine its effectiveness.

We designed SmokefreeTXT to express joy and praise when users achieve a smoke-free milestone, and encouragement when they may have slipped. After participating in the six-week program, SmokefreeTXT follows up at one, three, and six months to check on the user’s smoke-free status, and offer additional assistance if needed.

A supporting campaign: “U&I Unite 2 Quit” (U2Q) targeted anyone who knew and cared about a smoker, to encourage participation in SmokefreeTXT. The campaign used online banner ads, social media pushes and select media outreaches timed around the Great American Smokeout and New Year’s resolutions.

Outcome

Media campaigns generated 18+ million ad impressions, 28,703 clicks to banner ads, 275 unique Twitter accounts; 600+ mentions and re-tweets, and nearly 4,000 new subscriptions to SmokefreeTXT. Earned media coverage included stories in USA Today, New York Times, NCI Cancer Bulletin and the American Dental Association.

But our most meaningful measure of success came in an analysis of active subscribers. The 17% who reported quitting smoking represented more than three times the national quit rate for people trying to quit on their own, a success that encouraged a national scientific study and increased federal funding, aimed at making SmokefreeTXT a new force in public health.

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