ALA encourages smokers to be quitters

The American Lung Association (ALA) hired Porter Novelli (PN) to increase visibility of its "Freedom from Smoking" (FFS) clinics (run by 11 regional organizations and online).

Client: American Lung Association (Washington, DC)
Agency: Porter Novelli (Washington, DC)
Campaign: Quitter in You Smoking Cessation Campaign
Duration: September 2009 – March 2010
Budget: Approximately $1.5 million

The American Lung Association (ALA) hired Porter Novelli (PN) to increase visibility of its “Freedom from Smoking” (FFS) clinics (run by 11 regional organizations and online).

“We've been a leader in smoking cessation for more than 50 years,” explains Carrie Martin, VP of communications. “But we've lacked a PR effort over the years to encourage people to quit.” 

Two national PN surveys conducted last year revealed motivators for quitting and how many attempts it typically takes. The team then crafted messaging that PN VP Kenneth Sain says framed quit attempts as steps toward success rather than as failures.

The “Quitter in You” campaign centered on grassroots education and media relations. It was launched in five cities (Richmond, VA, Milwaukee, WS, Tucson, AZ, Harrisburg, PA and St. Louis, MO) that Martin says have strong ALA programs. Sain adds that choosing midsize markets also ensured media penetration.

The team created PSAs, a website, and dedicated social media pages. Local ALA teams partnered with businesses, media, and other groups to reach people at community events.

PN surveyed smokers in the five markets pre- and post-campaign to assess awareness and impact.

Local ALA teams worked with existing and new partners to set up at events. They also recruited local quitters as spokespeople. includes user-generated videos, tips, and links to ALA resources. Print, out-of-home, and radio PSAs ran nationally and locally.

ALA chief medical officer Dr. Norman Edelman conducted an RMT. ALA smoking cessation expert Mary Ella Douglas conducted an SMT and RMT. Sain says partnerships with local radio stations were leveraged from a “modest” ad buy.

The team also launched dedicated Quitter in You Twitter and Facebook pages, and Martin's in-house team pushed out messaging there and on ALA's previously existing pages.

Sain says PN survey results show the campaign reached approximately one in four smokers in the five markets, and half who recalled seeing campaign material reported a quit attempt.

A total of 57 organizations partnered in local communities, and 82 events were held. Additionally, 148,490 promotional materials were distributed; 83 FFS facilitators were trained; and 31 new FFS clinics were conducted. received 14,832 visits and 40,695 page views (September to March). Nearly 255 million impressions were garnered in local and national outlets including USA Today.

ALA is seeking funding to continue this campaign. PN will continue to work with ALA on other projects, including the Christmas Seals campaign.

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