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Student judges sought for anti-smoking advertisements


The brains behind some of the world's best anti-smoking ads are facing the acid test, with Victorian students being asked to rate a range of advertisements and vote for the one they think is most likely to encourage kids to either not start smoking or to quit.

Quit Victoria is calling for primary and secondary schools across the state to get involved in Quit's Critics’ Choice awards, and vote for the television advertisement they think is the best one to encourage kids not to smoke.

Quit Victoria’s Manager of prevention programs, Ian Ferretter, says Quit initiated the Critics’ Choice awards to find out which anti smoking advertisement kids think would make them quit smoking – or not start at all. Now in it’s third year, the program has been extended to most other states and territories.

Mr Ferretter says schools that register for receive a video tape with a selection of advertisements from Australia and around the world.

'Some of the sharpest advertising agencies around the world have come up with every conceivable approach in an attempt to encourage kids not to smoke, including gory images, supermodels, and humour, to the grim reality of smokers’ personal stories.'

Mr Ferretter says it’s sometimes surprising which ad gets the nod of approval from students.

'Kids are an incredibly tough audience, and the Critics’ Choice Awards give us a real insight into what advertising approaches are credible for young people – and it’s often not what you’d expect.'

'For example, one year we included an advertisement with supermodel Christy Turlington in the selection. Although this advertisement was very effective in America, it failed to impress Australian students.'

Mr Ferretter says a number of Australian advertisements are included in this year’s selection, as well as ads from overseas.

'This year we’ve put together a selection of ads that are considered to represent the pick of the world’s anti-smoking commercials.

'One of my personal favourites in this year’s group of advertisements is out of the vault. Made in the 1960’s, the commercial is one of Australia’s very first anti-smoking advertisements, and takes a comic approach. It will be interesting to see how students rate this advertisement made by The Cancer Council Victoria around 40 years ago.'

This year in Victoria the Critics’ Choice Awards have been generously supported by the St George Foundation. Selina Wisdom, the Foundation's Administration Manager, says the aim of the St George Foundation is to help young people achieve their best.

'We're delighted to be able to support the Critics’ Choice Awards and work together with Quit Victoria to give Victorian students an opportunity to tell us what they think is the most effective way to get the message about smoking across.'

Mr Ferreter says the advertisement that wins the highest approval of the young critics will be revealed in October, once votes are in.

Background information – Critics’ Choice awards

  • The Critics’ Choice awards are FREE to enter – schools simply need to call Quit on (03) 9635 5386 to register, and they’ll receive a video of this year’s selection and voting sheets.
  • The awards are open to upper primary and secondary students
  • There are great prizes on offer, including CD vouchers for students and teachers, and movie passes.
  • Entries need to be sent to Quit by Friday 19 September.
  • Voting is optional, and schools can use the video as a classroom activity, however students need to vote and return their voting sheets to Quit in order to go into the prize draw.
  • Please contact Zoe Furman on the numbers below to arrange interviews with Ian Ferretter.


    Further information:
    Zoe Furman
    Media Communications Manager

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