During the same week that cigarette vending machines have been banned in the UK (the ban came into force on Monday 3rd October) modelling agencyModels Direct has been looking back at some of the hard hitting anti-smoking campaigns, featuring child models and actors, that have helped smokers all over Britain to quit the habit in recent years.
In July 2007 the ban on smoking in public places came into force in the UK and many people will still remember the ground breaking and shocking anti-smoking campaigns that were run almost exactly one year later. They featured child models and actors imitating their parents’ smoking habits, and gave many people a new perspective on the dangers and implications of smoking. The advertisements raised very uncomfortable questions about whether a child may be influenced by seeing an adult smoking. They were based around the widely accepted belief that children copy the behaviour of adults, in particular their parents, and they included disturbing images of a toddler model pretending to smoke a crayon. The tag-line used was ‘Smoking, don’t keep it in the family’.
A second anti-smoking campaign featuring children was launched in September 2009. This time the Department of Health enlisted the help of real children to get their life-saving message across. Children of smokers were asked to provide personal messages voicing genuine concerns about their parents’ smoking habits, and once again the use of children in the advertisements made them extremely effective.
In an interview for The Telegraph, Deborah Arnott, Chief Executive of Action on Smoking and Health, said of the campaign: ”These powerful new adverts tap into emotions that we know that many children of smoking parents already experience on a day to day basis.
”This campaign gives smokers a clear incentive to quit and a guide to the most effective means of doing so – using free local NHS support.”
Last year, the ‘I’d Do Anything’ advertisements again featured real children singing the familiar song from ‘Oliver’ the musical. They ended with the line: “Your kids would do anything for you. Why don’t you stop smoking for them?”
Smoking continues to be on the decrease, and it seems that many of us have our children to thank for helping us to combat this awful habit. As vending machines are the most common way that young smokers purchase cigarettes maybe this week’s ban will help them to avoid the temptations of smoking themselves in future.
The impact of child models and actors in advertising is undisputed, and campaigns like those mentioned above really do serve to remind us just how much influence the use of children in advertising can have on viewers. Anti-smoking campaigns featuring children have certainly had a big impact on some of the girls and guys at the Models Direct offices.