THE MES­SAGE IN THE MU­SIC

New Zealand Marketing - - Energi -

The Health Pro­mo­tion Agency is on a mis­sion to re­duce smok­ing among New Zealan­ders. Its long­stand­ing part­ner­ship with Smoke­free­rock­quest has been a great way for it to both de­crease youth smok­ing rates and help launch the ca­reer of tal­ented Kiwi mu­si­cians.

The Chal­lenge

Up to two-thirds of peo­ple who smoke to­day and con­tinue smok­ing will even­tu­ally be killed by to­bacco. The fi­nan­cial cost of smok­ing to the coun­try is also close to $2 bil­lion a year, but more im­por­tantly there is also a high emo­tional cost – fam­ily mem­bers are too of­ten watch­ing some­one they love rav­aged by a cancer caused by smok­ing. The Health Pro­mo­tion Agency (HPA) has a long-stand­ing part­ner­ship with Smoke­free­rock­quest to com­bat smok­ing among youth, as most smok­ers start by the time they’re 24. And its chal­lenge has al­ways been how to get its mes­sage across with­out over­do­ing it and putting young peo­ple off – cer­tainly no easy feat. As any­one that has spent time with teenagers would know, the surest way to get them to do some­thing is to tell them not to. So, in­ter­ven­ing with tra­di­tional health pro­mo­tion tech­niques was fraught with dan­ger in re­gards to un­in­tended con­se­quences. Fur­ther, in­side youth cul­ture there were some peer groups more at risk of smok­ing than oth­ers. Sport par­tic­i­pa­tion, for in­stance, re­duced risk – but mu­sic, stage­craft and the arts is an area where po­ten­tial smok­ing risk is more preva­lent.

The Re­sponse

In­sights had shown that to make Smoke­free mes­sag­ing work, the HPA shouldn’t sep­a­rate its lever­ag­ing con­tent from the event. So, last year, the HPA wove its mes­sage care­fully into the com­pe­ti­tion; even mak­ing sure all its sup­port­ing cre­ative was made by the same de­signer who did the cre­ative ma­te­rial for the com­pe­ti­tion it­self. The HPA de­cided to reach its au­di­ence by launch­ing we­bisodes from ev­ery event (cre­at­ing 24 in to­tal), push­ing them out through dig­i­tal and me­dia part­ner­ships within days of each event. They were three-minute pack­ages, in­clud­ing clips of the bands in ac­tion, in­ter­views and cut-aways from the day. Smoke­free mes­sag­ing from the par­tic­i­pants was sewn in, com­ing di­rectly from those it was try­ing to reach. At the risk of hav­ing the op­po­site ef­fect of its in­ten­tion, it never got par­tic­i­pants to tell peo­ple not to smoke. It sim­ply showed the strength of a smoke-free life­style and how that con­nected back to mu­sic. To get as many eye­balls see­ing the we­bisodes as pos­si­ble, it used its part­ner­ship with Me­di­a­works to share videos on its own so­cial chan­nels as well as on The Edge TV. To in­crease Māori and Pa­cific en­gage­ment, it pro­filed those com­mu­ni­ties in its video con­tent, to show that Māori and Paci­fica had a real role in both Smoke­free­rock­quest and its sis­ter com­pe­ti­tion, Smoke­free Paci­fica Beats. Through a third part­ner – the New Zealand Mu­sic Foun­da­tion – it pi­loted work­shops us­ing well re­spected men­tal health pro­fes­sion­als for those who made it into the sec­ond round. Work­shops looked at well­be­ing in an in­dus­try that can be tough on new tal­ent com­ing through. Rather than a lec­ture, the work­shops were hon­est and con­ver­sa­tional.

The Re­sult

The 2017 Smoke­free­rock­quest ended up be­ing fan­tas­tic in terms of event per­for­mance. The HPA es­ti­mates more than 1,500 kids fea­tured in the videos, and on so­cial me­dia alone they re­ceived over 311,000 views. There were 2,876 stu­dents par­tic­i­pat­ing at the events, which was a 15 per­cent growth year-on-year. There was a 16 per­cent in­crease in Pa­cific youth par­tic­i­pa­tion and a 30 per­cent in­crease in Māori youth par­tic­i­pa­tion. A whop­ping 13,229 peo­ple at­tended the live events and the HPA gained over 120 pieces of earned me­dia (free PR and ed­i­to­rial cov­er­age), in­clud­ing main­stream TV cov­er­age from the na­tional fi­nal. The smok­ing rate for 14 and 15-yearolds was 2.1 per­cent, the low­est it’s ever been (down from 15.6 per­cent in 1999). Fur­ther, 82 per­cent of 14 and 15-yearolds had never tried a cig­a­rette (up from 36 per­cent in 2001). The pi­lot work­shops were also ex­tremely suc­cess­ful and will be rolled out again in 2018. Long may the suc­cess­ful part­ner­ship con­tinue.

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