‘Strictly’ glamour brought in to boost Stoptober campaign

Former Strictly Come Dancing star James Jordan is fronting this year’s Stoptober campaign, appearing in a promotional film that has already had more than 30,000 views from a tweet he posted at the weekend.

James Jordan, who appeared as a professional on Strictly Come Dancing from 2006 to 2013 (Pic credit: Getty Images)

Now in its 11th year, Stoptober encourages smokers to quit the habit during October. People are five times more likely to give up the habit for good if they can manage to stay smoke-free for at least 28 days. Stoptober is the Department of Health and Social Care’s annual smoking-cessation campaign, and is run under the Office for Health Improvement and Disparities’ ‘Better health’ umbrella brand.

James Jordan recently gave up smoking after 27 years. The new campaign film features the professional ballroom dancer speaking to ex-smoker and NHS psychiatrist Dr Max Pemberton and stop smoking professional Louise Ross about the importance of self-confidence when quitting smoking, as well as getting the right support.

Smoking costs the NHS £2.4bn a year and causes at least 15 types of cancers, including lung cancer and acute myeloid leukaemia. Although the Stoptober campaign has prompted 2.5 million smokers to try to quit the habit to date, almost six million Britons continue to smoke.


This year’s campaign will encourage people to take simple steps to help build their confidence and get the support they need from family and friends, as well as professional help, to stop smoking for good.

“You’ve got what it takes to quit this Stoptober” is a key message of this year’s campaign. As well as emphasising the benefits of quitting, it will motivate smokers by instilling the belief that they can quit, and that by joining Stoptober, they’ll have the support of the thousands of others who are trying to stop smoking too.

Two-phased approach

The campaign, running across PR, VoD, digital display, social media, radio and partnerships, will continue until the end of October. It is a cross-agency collaboration between M&C Saatchi, Freuds+, Wavemaker, OmniGOV, 23Red and Flipside.

Smokers aged 25 to 50 are being targeted across England, with a two-phase comms strategy devised to hit mainstream national media as well as consumer and regional outlets throughout the duration of the campaign.

The first stage, in the two weeks up to the start of October, will showcase the positive impacts of quitting and engage current smokers, as well as highlighting the resources available to anyone wanting to give up smoking.

The second phase of Stoptober, launching on 1 October, will focus on motivation, providing motivational messages from well-known personalities such as Martin Kemp, Nick Hewer, James Jordan and Sinitta, along with case studies of people who have given up smoking in a campaign film encouraging people to keep on track.

During this second phase, throughout October, PR, advertising and social media will offer information, support and inspiration to help people to stop smoking.

The reach of the campaign is being amplified by partners such as local authorities, the NHS, local smoking-cessation service providers, charities and businesses.

All messaging will direct those making a quit attempt to the free support tools available on the Better Health – Stoptober website. This includes the NHS Quit Smoking Stoptober app, daily email and SMS support, Facebook support group and a Personal Quit Plan tool. The website also provides information and advice on stopping smoking.

Measuring progress

A tracking survey by YouGov will be used to help evaluate the impact of the campaign. The survey will measure the percentage of stop smoking attempts linked to the campaign, as well as other actions people have taken as a result of the campaign, such as downloading the NHS Quit Smoking App app or speaking to a pharmacist about quitting.

Julia Bainbridge, partner at Freuds and co-founder of Freuds+, told PRWeek: “This year’s campaign draws on best practice behaviour science to ensure we’re delivering a campaign that cuts across the ever-changing smoking landscape and complexity of addiction, to drive real change and support those wanting to quit.”

She added: “Public support is even more important now as we see health being deprioritised by consumers in the face of financial pressures. It’s essential that every part of the marketing mix works together to help drive this behaviour change and the motivation to quit.”

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