Kicking off on No Smoking Day and running throughout March the British Heart Foundation (BHF) have been utilising augmented reality app Blippar to “hijack” cigarette packs in a bid to encourage smokers to quit.
Information in the ‘Smoking Kills’ graphics on pack is recognised by the app when a smart phone is held up to it, turning it in to a cloud of digital smoke. It reveals what smokers could be spending their money on instead of cigarettes, including holidays and entertainment systems.
According to the BHF someone who smokes 20 cigarettes a day could save £7 a day, £49 per week, £210 per month and £2,555 a year if they were to quit. A survey conducted for the foundation found that 11% of smokers are desperate to give up. Once the app displays the content they are directed to WeQuit.co.uk which contains further content assisting them to kick the habit.
This is the first time a charity has used the technology in this way and it creates an interesting new dimension to discouraging smoking – without the use of gruesome images.
It’s definitely a distinct contrast against the packaging work coming out of Australia at the moment, that seeks to homogenise the designs of cigarette packs whilst generating graphics as unappealing as possible. There is a whole wealth of guidelines telling you how best to use the dank green, warning signs and horrific pictures of mouth and throat cancer.
Betty McBride, director of policy and communications at BHF says: “The tobacco giants are notoriously protective about their slick cigarette packaging – here’s a bit of slick that does some good for once.” She goes on to explain how there is a constant battle to find new ways to reach people so it’s definitely a breath of fresh air to find a charity embracing technology and using it in such a compelling way.