Loony Lungs by Saatchi & Saatchi

With the advent of a new year comes a new campaign designed to shock  hardened nicotine addicts into stubbing their cigarettes (and habits) out. Comissioned by QUIT as part of their long term campaign against the foul habit, Saatchi and Saatchi have taken a step away from graphic depictions of tumours and lungs (which to my eye always look suspiciously fake – the man with the throat cancer appeared to have a large steak wrapped around his neck) and plunged admirably into something more abstract and dark.

Reminiscent of Adult Swim and Newgrounds (the latter taking up an inordinate amount of my time between 2003 – 2004), the campaign follows the misadventures of  two ‘Loony Lungs’ being, in no particular order: eaten by piranhas, electrocuted and savaged by dogs. Skydiving without a parachute is also heavily featured.

The Loony Lungs will also be featured outside selected Underground stations plus pubs and bars , and will no doubt attract significant attention from night time revelers.

Whilst there is no doubt of the creativity and imagination of the campaign, the gravitas of the effects of smoking is somewhat lost in translation when watching two lungs dangling from a vine with a shoal of carnivorous fish massing beneath them. A huge health risk like smoking can’t be solved overnight by a few viral videos, but the stat’s don’t lie (sorry Mark Twain) – the number of people who managed to quit in 2010 increased by 4% from the previous year.  So it seems the good people at Saatchi and Saatchi X are doing something right, and all for an admirable cause.

However, this does leave me yearning for a slightly more serious and graphic smoking  campaign, akin to the ones seen here.

As a means of shocking one’s target audience and forcing an immediate reaction, some of these campaigns are unparalleled in their directness. Nothing hits harder than attacking the main focus behind humanity’s natural instinct: to reproduce. Therefore any attack on virility and family is effective – particularly for men. Highlighting ‘passive smoking’ was one of the main triumphs behind anti smoking campaigns of the 90’s in creating awareness of the dangers posed to family and friends when lighting up.

That said, smoking is still seen as a form of youthful rebellion for many. Images of such icons as James Dean and River Phoenix with Marlboros clamped firmly between their lips still resonate with young people. The ‘live fast die young’ mentality is embodied by these two men who were cut off in their prime and smoking is seen as part of this image. People don’t start accepting their mortality until familial and financial responsibilities creep up on them – but anti smoking  campaigns sure as hell speed the process up. So despite my misgivings, I applaud any attempt to dissuade this foul habit and look forward to seeing more updates on the crazy capers of the Loony Lungs.

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About Darcy
passionate about digital marketing and viral video.

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