Responses to the ‘Bubblewrap Emphysema’ campaign

Durkin S, Wakefield M

CBRC Research Paper Series No. 19

This natural exposure evaluation of the Bubblewrap television and Emphysema radio ads indicated a high level of awareness and understanding of the main messages of the campaign and a strong impact of the campaign on respondents’ attitudes and intentions. Around three quarters of those exposed to both the television and radio ads agreed that the ad had made them feel more concerned about their smoking and around half in each sample agreed the ad had motivated them to try to quit smoking. There was some indication that those with lower levels of education were more affected by the campaign, especially the Emphysema radio ad, with a greater proportion reporting that the ad had made them stop and think and feel concerned about their smoking than those with higher levels of education. As those with lower levels of education have higher smoking rates in the community, and were a primary target group for this campaign, it is promising that there may be a greater impact among these respondents.

Almost a third of those who heard the Emphysema radio ad followed the breathing instructions and a fifth to a quarter of those exposed to the Emphysema radio and Bubblewrap ads had discussed the ad with someone else. Discussions were often between children and parents, commenting that they wanted the other person to stop smoking. The content of discussions also indicated that respondents were strongly affected by the ads and motivated to give up smoking.

This evaluation also showed that the program within which the Bubblewrap ad was seen influenced responses to the ad. Respondents who saw the Bubblewrap ad within a comedy program were less likely to believe the ad, while those who watched it during a reality TV program or game show were significantly more likely to report being motivated to quit and were more likely to have discussed the ad with someone else.

These findings indicate that the ‘Bubblewrap Emphysema’ campaign had a strong impact on the majority of smokers who viewed it and likely motivated some smokers to actually try to quit. The ads also generated a substantial degree of further communication among family and friends about quitting. Interpersonal discussion of these health messages may greatly increase the likelihood of an actual quit attempt. These findings also suggest that there might be some value in placing ads like the Bubblewrap ad within reality TV or game show programs and avoiding placement in comedy programs.