Visual Stop Smoking Advertising Campaigns Cultural Studies Essay


My work is based on the 2 major areas of investigation: literature review and a practical part consisting of personal interviews with smokers. Literature resources chosen are 'on the specific theme: Social Advertising; Psychological Aspects of Advertising' (Dissertation Proposal 2010) and History of Smoking in Russia. 'The majority of the literature resources used in relation to Social Advertising's theme are dated 2006 and above, proving the novelty of Social Advertising phenomenon in Russia and providing the newest information at the same time. It is also necessary to address to particularly Russian literature in order to make the research outcomes more objective as Social Advertising is highly dependent on each single nation's mentality, religion and set number of immutable social norms.' (Dissertation Proposal 2010).

In Russia the use of tobacco was not encouraged for a very long time. A habit of smoking in Russia has very deep historical roots that go back to the reign of the Tsar Ivan the Terrible in the 16th century, when tobacco was imported by English merchants and was brought in the empire in the baggage of hired officers, invaders and Cossacks during the Troubles. Smoking has temporary become popular among the nobility due to its price.

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After that follows long time of sinking into obscurity and even embargo of tobacco smoking confirmed by constitution and holing out promises of capital punishment to anybody who disobeyed. In February-April 1697 by the series of decrees of Tsar Peter I the Great who was a sovereign-reformer and for whom violation of centuries settled foundations of life was an indispensable condition of board, has legalized sale of tobacco and installed rules of its propagation. A change of a suit and shaving of beard and a habit to smoke in addition completed the appearance of a new type of Russian man.

With opening of the first genuine Russian tobacco factory by industrialist Zhukov in 1822 in Petersburg tobacco smoking reached its perfect heyday by producing 1.5 million cigars and 500 poods of snuff a day.

The first large Russian tobacco monopoly was founded in 1914 and was given a name of the St.-Petersburg Trading-export Joint-stock company. The organization consisted of 13 tobacco factories in Petersburg, Moscow, Rostov-on-Don and Feodosiya and produced 56 % of the tobacco products which were sold in Russia. By the beginning of the XX century tobacco trade has become one of the most successful businesses. (Zhurnalniy Zal 2001).

Semiotics of the smoking's motive in literature.

At all times art served as a display of a pattern of an epoch, specifics of people's life and historical events. The literal samples of each single epoch can help us in our search of the real reasons of smoking for both men and women.

The relation to tobacco in Russia initially did not develop under economic or medical influence but mainly ideological, political or confessional motives. Fashion on smoking has been developing unceasingly by centuries.

By the end of this century appearance of the different types and respectively various prices on tobacco start to indicate the status and accessory to a certain social class. Thereby nobleman Rahmetov (Chernishevskiy (1976) 'What Shall we Do?') smokes very good and expensive cigar brand. In Tolstoy's 'Resurrection', kniyaz Nekliyudov who wallowed into luxury, smokes only the first and the best sort of cigars (Tolstoy 1992). Burlaks- hired workers who carried out the most physically tough job were usually depicted as smoking the cheapest tobacco in their rare breaks. Footman Yasha trying in vain to imitate his gentries smoked cheap and fetid cigars. (Chekhov (1974), 'Cherry Orchard').

In the late 19th century a totally new sign of smoking appeared: women started using tobacco as the start of emancipation. Margarita Aleksandrovna in her 30ties smoked as a steam locomotive even on a strong frost that resulted in consumption. (Chekhov (1974), 'Volodya'). Turgenev's Yevdoksiya Kukshina has modest man's pleasures: 'She has curtailed cigarette with her fingers that turned brown from tobacco, lined it with her tongue, sucked it and lit it up'. (Turgenev (1975), 'Fathers and Sons'). Katya Maslowa- the young woman who lost her moral reference points spend her time in 'music, dances, sweets, wine, smoking and adulteries with young, average, semi children …' (Tolstoy (1992) 'Resurrection').

The habitual of smoking turned up to illustrate: thinking and behaviour freedom among women that resulted in their masculinisation and roughening; parasitic style of nobility's life and its consequent degradation.

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'To the 20th century beginning tobacco trade became one of the most favourable commercial enterprises. The World War I resulted in "cigarette boom" Russia as well as in many European countries when tobacco became an integral part of a soldier's ration 'for calm of nerves and rest'. After revolution of 1917 tobacco factories were nationalized.' (Shabashow 2006 p. 22).

With the invention of cinematography cigars and cigarettes started appearing on screens and demonstrating this engrained habitual of smoking among all nations and without any age limitations.

The tobacco smoking has been associated with aristocratic pastime for a very long period of time, but as soon as it becomes a democratic habit it instantly loses the exclusive charm.

Early Soviet Society battled against alcohol drinking but tobacco smoking was widely regarded as puerility and never as an enemy of the social health. The healthy lifestyle fashion comes only in the middle of the 20th century when the terrible consequences of tobacco smoking are discovered. (Shabashow 2006 p. 24).

Chapter Two.

Social Advertising: Stop Smoking Campaign. Defining terms.

"Non-commercial advertising is an advertising campaign sponsored by non-for-profit institutions or acting in their interests and aiming […] to attract attention to the affairs of society." "Public (social) advertising sends a message that promotes some positive effect." (Astakhova 1999).

The purpose of this type of advertising is to change the attitude of the public to any kind of problem and to create new social values in the long term perspective.

In the Federal Law "On Advertising" in the Article â„-18 social advertising is defined as a representative of the public and state interests and aims for achievement of charitable purposes. (Federal Law on Advertising 1995).

First of all it is necessary to emphasize, that the term social advertising is applied only in Russia. All over the world it is conformed by the concepts such as non-commercial advertising and public advertising, and therefore there is a difference in interpretation of terms.

Social advertising is the type of communication that is focused on attraction of attention to the most topical problems in the society and its moral values. Applicability of social advertising is in humanization of societies and formation of moral values. Mission of social advertising is in change of behavioural models in society.

'Social advertising brings strong images of a pro-social image of action and inlaying in them a support to corresponding human aspirations, thus supporting satisfaction of the person of himself in surrounding, brings the greater order in a society, than the law.' (Sergeyev 2006 p.6).

Many authors when describing distinctions of commercial and social advertising in the comparative analysis use various criteria of evaluation and differently interpret distinctions, but the base elements authors use are uniform:

- A subject of the social advertising is an idea that possesses a social value.

- Mission of social advertising is in a change of behavioural models in a society from humanistic point of view.

- An overall objective is in a change of the population's attitude to any problem.

- A target audience is all society or its most active part, or those people who participate in making significant social, economic or political decisions.

- Efficiency of social advertising should be estimated on such parameters as recognition in society of that social phenomenon, change of a public position in relation to that and formation of a steady public opinion.

Also it is necessary to add that a role of social advertising is not marketing, but educational, hence not bearing direct material benefits.

One single similarity of commercial and social advertising consists of a generality of distribution's means and advertising tools: printed mass-media, electronic mass-media, polygraphic advertising etc. (Nikholashvili 2008)

Hindsight into Past

Social advertising as an educational tool was widely known in USSR but was characterised by mainly ideological aim and formality. Social advertising in Russia has started its development during the reorganization and post-reorganization period, therefore the new science and the base theory of the Russian social advertising is created now. Modern social advertising is just entering its primary stage in Russia, its resources are huge but have not been enough digested yet.

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The complexity of work with social advertising is that it does not bring direct and fast material profit and it is necessary to be ready for difficulty in reaching the aim and getting a long-term result. It is very complex to estimate an efficiency of campaigns because there is a lack of serious scientific researches on social advertising. As in researches of commercial advertising the main emphasis is made on economic efficiency or in other words on quantity indicators, it is hard to apply them to social advertising's researches, because its efficiency sometimes can be found out only after a couple of years. Also in case of anti-tobacco advertising there is no attention given to tobacco commercials promoted simultaneously that naturally reduces efficiency of social ones. (Nikholashvili 2008)

Social advertising - is the thin and fragile tool which cannot suffer violence, mimicries of other kinds of advertising (political and commercial) that sharply reacts to rigid ideological frameworks. In its development social advertising visually reflects modification of the major ethical reference points in the sphere of fundamental human values; it forms moral principles of a society and actively reacts to change. Nowadays the program on creation of a new image of Russia is in the process of formation.

Psychological aspects of social advertising's influence

People do not read advertisements as such. They read what interests them, but sometimes those turn out, and advertisements (G. Gossid, advertiser).

(Email marketing 2010).

A separate attention is given to psychological aspects of advertising effect on consumer in order to form the skills of the practical analysis of social advertising including the recognition of the elements of public opinion's manipulation in advertising. There are two main tools of influence: cognitive and emotional components, which being studied in a greater depth are able to show the way how each single advertisement's element affects human reaction to an advertisement in whole.

Cognitive component

One of the important elements of cognitive activity is the sensation. Sensation is a primary cognitive process that is reflection in a bark of a brain of separate subjects' properties and the phenomena of world around at direct influence on sense organs. In advertising activity visual, acoustical, flavouring, impellent, olfactory, tactile and some other kinds of sensations are often used.

Advertising also complies with the law of brevity: the person mentally breaks complex external sensations into simple components for fuller and easier understanding and storing.

Under Fechner law the person experiences smaller changes in sensations at very high values of stimulus than at lower values. Hence too strong influences can have absolutely opposite effect (too loud sound, too bright colours etc.). (Nikholashvili 2008 p.95).

Unlike sensation, perception represents a complete reflection of subjects and the phenomena of the world around in a bark of a brain, in this process the leading role has cognizance.

Advertising should conform to integrity principle described by strong connections between physical, psychological and symbolical components where exception of one component by all means entails the loss of sense. When the spectator realizes the value of connections, he seizes the sense of the whole system and a particular derivation and remembers it.

Nowadays at those streams of the information that are daily processed by a person, the major property of perception is the attention. And only the information that is given in the most interesting and clear form will be recorded by attention.

Memory is the major psychological process having the direct relation to efficiency of advertising activity. It is established by researches that the person memorizes more quickly and more strongly the things that have connections with his further activity and the things he has an expressed interest to. A task of social advertising's manufacturer is inculcation to a person that the problem touches him.

For creating a delay in forgetting process advertising manufacturers should aspire to use associative fields (company - a trade mark); the use of one, but the most powerful argument; and also a rhythmical organization of the advertising message.

One more process involved in cognitive analysis is thinking. The person generalizes the reflection of subjects and the phenomena in consciousness in their natural connections and relations. The main attributes of thinking are that the person not only fixes direct influence but also makes the use of the experience from the past in an estimation of this influence. Symbols and abstract concepts, which take root in the process of thinking, allow the person to better fit the effect from advertising.

Emotional component

Emotional component of advertising's influence will determine the emotional attitude to an object of the advertising information. Psychological researches assume, which components of advertising form behavioural reaction in society.

Emotional memory, as well as the visual is very steady and much stronger than other kinds of memory influences behaviour of a person.

There is a division between negative and positive emotions, and both categories being in a very strong quality extremely favourably influence the general process of memorising.

Among negative emotions there are allocated the base ones:

Emotion of fear that can be congenital and socially acquired. Congenital fears provide safety of person's body, and socially acquired fears preserve against social death.

But if a consumer has tested emotion of fear earlier than he has heard an argument in favour of the offered problem's decision the effect from such advertising will be zero. If an optimum level of fear is exceeded, human organism's protective mechanisms reflectively step into and a person is automatically fenced off from perception and the subsequent adoption of such advertising.

Emotion of shame

At the given emotion the consciousness of the person is directed only on himself and those features that seem inadequate and indecent to him.

Emotion of Suffering

Suffering pushes the person to undertake actions for reduction of suffering for elimination of its reason or changing the attitude to the object that became the reason of suffering. Having analyzed some works I can add the emotion caused by threat of potential loss as the sub item of emotion of suffering. Risk to lose something is a very powerful motivation.

It is considered, that in social advertising it is better to avoid negative emotions and to use positive emotions, such as:

Emotion of interest. Interest provides maintenance of a due level of organism's and mental activity. Such components as absence of obvious logic, strange behaviour of people, inexplicability of a situation makes advertising interesting.

Emotion of joy is the main positive emotion. Its main difference from emotion of interest is that it not only holds the person in excitation, but it is possible to calm, weaken and adjust this emotion's intensity.

People are inclined to share outlived positive emotions; therefore these emotions are much more effective than negative ones.

Combining various means of emotions' moving, it is possible to achieve the most effective quintessence- 'an image of a negative through a positive'.

A separate role is given to manipulation in social advertising. Manipulation is defined as an influence on the person with the purpose of prompting to actions that are contradicting with his or her own interests. Manipulation is distinguished with the latent character and by a unilateral benefit that is usually reached in a result.

Opportunities for a manipulation of perception are very wide owing to that streams of the information today are so great that the consumer sinks in its abundance.

The main way of manipulation in social advertising is an operation of stereotypes that exist in mass consciousness by their strengthening, opposition, easing, etc.

There are different ways of stereotypes' formation:

- Infection (spontaneous and uncontrollable process)

- Belief or an appeal to rational and logic thinking of an individual.

- Suggestion that frequently exploits national values.

Manipulation's methods are split into:

- factography (facts are more decisive than discourse);

- A method of exaggeration for giving a greater weightiness to a fact;

- The use of bright metaphors

- An estimation (people tend to accept already available estimation than expose their own by making an analysis);

- Amplification of person's identification with a group;

- An appeal to person's emotional sphere.

Manipulation of perception is a very complex process and there is nobody who can be manipulated to infinity. (Nikholashvili 2008 pp. 82- 110).

Force of social advertising in its skill to address to person's own force. Its principal purpose is to expand a field of vision in which a person exists, to deduce him from a problem circle so that all senselessness of his actions becomes obvious.

The halfway of norm's internal force is in their existence in strong images in environment and in showing person's own strong I.

In Robert Burns' work on psychology 'Foundations of I-concept' human representation of his own person is interpreted through other people's representations of himself that causes the fact that the person is formed under socio-cultural factors' influence. (Burns 1986). Therefore the overall objective of social advertising is to assist the person to find a force in himself and to resist the negative habits from the world around which have such a strong influence on an estimation of the own I, and also to accept 'positive expectations of the surrounding environment' and to take them for an outlook's basis.

On Maslow's hierarchy of needs one of the most important needs is self-realization and social advertising should enable people with self-realisation.

A widely used method in social advertising is a principle that is so-called: 'Do not do, and is usually not very effective. In a precept 'Do not Do' there is already a push to a fulfilment of this act by virtue or that intenders an idea on a similar act into consciousness, and, hence, a tendency to its fulfilment.' (Vigotsky 2000 p. 17).

Use of negative in advertising holds the person in a problem situation and usually does not offer an exit, which is accompanied by the phenomenon of a cognitive discord when a person does not let a negative character into his consciousness while being shown the worst result of an advanced problem even with the good purposes. Submission of a problem is not a solution of a problem. It is necessary to interest and excite a person by safe prospects, when the mentality being in a condition of emotional rise is more open for perception of new norms.

If there is a necessity of mentioning a problem in advertising, it is necessary to make it meaningless, to deprive its force and then to give an alternative and detailed solution. In a basis of psychological working capacity of an effective influence there is a feeling of freedom's increase instead of feeling of its restriction.

The important role is also given to facts and the skill to think critically instead of categorically accepting already stated estimation (which usually causes scepticism) that is the extremely important in battling against negative influence of commercial tobacco announcements. (Sergeyev 2006 pp. 45- 55).

It is impossible to cause any behavioural process or to direct it differently, otherwise, than having created a corresponding stimulus. (Vigotsky 2000 p.45). A halfway of an advertising message's working capacity and therefore its influence on person is in correlation of an offered result with the vital space and in seeing the given advantages in own circumstances.

Explanations of 'ways' to the solution of a problem shown in advertisement that are described in answers to questions 'What, Where and When something is necessary to be done?' have been investigated by German psychologist Levin and have been named 'channel factors' and play the vital role in human perception. If during an advertising there is only shown a problem instead of its simple in understanding and actions and step-by-step solution, there will not be any result. (Sergeyev 2006 p.69)

The person is inclined to inertness in perception and to even greater inertness in change of stereotypes which seem being uniquely correct. The psychiatrist Vigotsky explains it by a human organism having a certain fund of nervous energy and each reaction being made within the limits of own power budget, and on perception of all new phenomenona an additional nervous energy is required which a person uses only in extreme cases.

Therefore to direct a person on perception of new things, it is necessary to convince him that the problem concerns exactly him and the use of energy is directed to something extremely important, because an external pushing is an insufficient stimulus, but an internal pressing or a belief of a person in that his life will slashingly become better will be a strong inducing stimulus.

Certainly, it is impossible to make a high-grade advertising roller without taking psychological aspects into account, but it should not be based only on them. Global experience shows that the best social advertising is the one which does not impose but only warns and causes positive emotions. (Sergeyev 2006 pp. 55- 107).

From the point of the primary visual effect an advertising poster can have, let us have a look at psychology of colour in advertising.

It is proved by psychologists that the environment that is counterbalanced in relation to colour attracts, calms and promotes the best perception of the information.

There is a certain list of dependence of an advertising perception's level on text's and background's colour (on deterioration of perception, see the list below):

Blue on White;

Black on Yellow;

Green on White;

Black on White;

Yellow on Black;

White on Black;

Green on Red;

Red on Yellow;

White on Blue;

Red on White;

Blue on Yellow;

Orange on Black;

Orange on White;

Yellow on Blue;

White on Green;

Red on Green;

Brown on White;

White on Brown;

Brown on Yellow;

Yellow on Brown;

White on Red;

Yellow on Red;

Unfortunately, it is impossible to give the recipe of colour's application that would be comprehensible in all. The case is that a psychological influence caused by colour combinations is differentiated for various people; in fact human behaviour is affected by culture and traditions.

The length of a title is also important. The heading should bring to a reader all that it intends to inform in a simple and laconic form. Experiments have shown that headings having the length of 10 and more words are perceived worse than the short ones. (Nikholashvili 2008 pp. 103- 1004).

Chapter Three.

Practical Part.

In order to illustrate if the methods and theories offered by scientists and lenses described in literature review do work in practice, it would be useful to analyse widely known anti-smoking posters through their effect on smokers. For that purpose individual interviews were conducted with 14 smokers: 8 men and 6 women with an age range from 17 to 69.

Due to high dependency of the result on the practical research technique, it was decided not to use any written or internet-based surveys, because a real 'response' to a poster shown may be lost along of different environment around each single surveyee and impossibility to fully assess own reaction in written. It should be mentioned that having a focus group was also unreliable, because many people tend to advocate the opinion of the group, therefore a track of the real effect of the poster may be lost.

Consequently it was decided to conduct individual interviews in equal environment where each respondent feels comfortable. Likewise this method allows spending as much time with respondents as needed and allows noting down all the personal observations like respondent's expressed emotions.

The interview process consisted of showing 4 widely known stop-smoking posters printed in colour in A3 format, which are the first ones to be found in internet search engines in Russian sources and especially on specialised stop-smoking forums, as well as like posters on streets and the ones published in periodicals. Two of the posters were specially created for Russian auditorium as a part of the federal anti-tobacco program and other two are international ones. Respondents were given as much freedom as possible in observing and giving feedback on the images: no limited time, no multiple choice answers, instead of those only 3 questions to make a framework for their reaction that makes the further evaluation easier.

The questions are as follows:

What do you feel when looking at this poster?

Could this poster influence your habitual to smoking?

What should be done in order to reduce the level of smokers in Russia?

The results of the interview were astonishingly concurrent with the theoretically suggested reaction and all the respondents were equal in their response direction (negative or positive) on each poster.

I summarised the findings and compared them with the theory in the next paragraphs. It is necessary to highlight that external observations' description is representing my personal and subjective view on what respondents' body language, tone of voice and face impression means even though I analyzed it through basic knowledge gained through Russian linguists Reformatsky's (2010) labours.

Poster â„-1 (Pic. 1. See appendices). Created by Brazilian Advertising Agency 'Neogama BBH'. Slogan means: 'You do not smoke cigarettes, these are cigarettes which smoke you', respondents were provided with an according translation into Russian.

According to the lenses described in the 2nd part of this work, this poster:

Should be attractive from the visual point of view (young woman and man, toned, shiny and naked body) and therefore relatively well memorised;

Bodies look healthy from outside and totally unreally burned from the inside, it creates confrontation in understanding that can still be very catchy for memory but creates doubts in veracity.

Bringing negative thoughts this poster should not be very effective as the spectator should reflectively close the reception of this information due to a phenomenon of a 'cognitive discord'. Likewise, there is no solution to the problem showed.

The slogan is very small in size comparing to the general size of the image; letters are red on light green background and according to colour's psychology rules the slogan should not be effective.

Referring to interviews' findings:

100% of the respondents found it attractive;

8 respondents out of 14 were puzzled by the question- 'why man has a problem with his lungs, but a woman with her abdomen?'

Only 2 of the respondents pointed their attention to slogan;

100% could not understand why both smokers on poster look so fit and healthy but with such ruined organs inside, it created a scepsis.

All respondents' faces showed a real interest at first and sceptical mimics at the end.

Poster â„-2 (Pic. 2. See appendices). Created by Austrian advertising agency for anti-smoking campaign in 2004. A Russian version of the slogan was provided.

According to the lenses described in the 2nd part of this work, this poster:

Should revolt with its image and the association with a stink should arouse emotion of suffering and a further will to its elimination;

The image is not real, although creates a very catchy association to stay in memory.

Slogan is short, clear and catchy. Dark blue letters on white background should be notable.

The same as the previous poster, this image is underpinned with a negative sense and is only descriptive, therefore not forcing people to critical analysis or showing a way for a problem-solving.

Referring to interviews' findings:

9 respondents out of 14 found this poster disgusting and asked me to remove it after a very short period of observation;

3 respondents pointed out that usually the food we eat is even worse than feces, but despite that fact everybody stays alive;

4 respondents found it very memorable and even amusing and emphasised that the idea underpinned in this posted is strong enough to memorise it every time they take a cigar, but not strong enough to prevent them from smoking at all;

From my observations everybody felt very uncomfortable from the first second after showing this image.

Poster â„-3 (Pic. 3. See appendices). Created by Russian advertising agency 'Olimp' for the state stop-smoking campaign in 2010. The text means: 'Smoker's lungs are like sponge that is full of cancerogenic pitch. Smoking is the reason of lungs cancer, bronchitis, emphysema. Smoking shortens the life by 10-15 years. STOP SMOKING TODAY!' The text on the bottom shows the state health commission's emblem and its title.

According to the lenses described in the 2nd part of this work, this poster:

Should be more effective that the previous posters due to an emphasis of the facts used by a creative depiction of smoker's lungs on the left from the text.

The information provided in this poster should be perceived as trustworthy due to the use of the Russian State Health commission's sign and well memorised due to use of an associative field.

Again there is no definite solution shown in this poster or any qualitative life changes depicted as a result of stopping smoking, only negative side of this habit is shown.

The use of relatively big white letters in the text on the blue-green background should attract attention, but is worth of mentioning that the text is too long for memorising it in fool or for reading it in a short time period without intentionally stopping when driving a car, passing by on foot etc.

Referring to interviews' findings:

12 respondents admitted this poster as a trustworthy;

2 respondents told they believe that the most human deaths are not caused by smoking and explained it by their own stories;

7 respondents complained that there are too many words in this poster and it is not very catchy;

3 respondents described the image on the left as a disgusting one and said that it prevented them from reading the text on the left;

In general everybody expressed their interest in this poster and a will to read the annotation at least in the first few seconds after showing the poster; 3 of the respondents showed discomfort after looking at the picture on the left and a further self-decrement by verbally discussing that there are much more deaths caused by totally different root;

Poster â„-4 (Pic. 4. See appendices). Created by a social team 'Healthy Russia' in support of the State Stop-Smoking Campaign 2010. The slogan means: 'Barsyks ['Barsyk' is a common name for a cat in Russia]' leave your mouth. That what should happen if you stop smoking'. The main point of this slogan is that there is no more bad breath after giving up smoking. There is used an association of cats' litter with bad smell. A small emblem in right top corner is a symbol of the social team 'Healthy Russia' with its title on it.

According to the lenses described in the 2nd part of this work, this poster:

Should be very well memorised due to its creative linking of the picture and a slogan;

Amusing but not effective as that is not the most important and ponderable argument;

Should be positive by deriding the problem, thus people will stay more open for further information evaluation;

As already analysed before the use of short title on white-silver background is the most perceptible and effective tool.

Referring to the interviews' findings:

10 out of 14 respondents laughed when observing this poster, but nobody evaluated it as an effective and a decisive one;

6 respondents told that the reason for bad breath is not smoking but stomach problems and therefore the slogan caused scepsis;

To sum up, none of the posters fully assured the smokers, but 12 out of 14 respondents (86%) endorsed that these posters forced them to thinking about giving up this bad habit. Also it was visible that respondents are very inert and resistant to change and especially the change of stereotypes. In giving suggestion on how to lower the level of smokers in Russia all the respondents agreed that it is needed to prohibit commercial tobacco advertisements and to raise the prices on tobacco. Everybody was also equal in their opinion that the root of smoking is in parents and adults setting a bad example to children and the youth. Respondents also mentioned that in order to make the visual stop-smoking advertisements more effective, they would like to see more real information and images that are displayed as well as less frightening details and so that the general meaning of the poster is applicable to real life.


This paper has explored the most important points concerning the phenomenon of the social advertising in terms of its aim and its key crucial components in terms of effect on human psychology and demonstrated its applicability to stop-smoking campaign.

The principal conclusions that can be drawn from this analysis relate to endorsement of the theoretical findings presented in this paper by the results gained through the interviews. It is necessary to highlight that due to different culture of the inhabitants in other countries the reaction exposed to the same posters may be slightly diverse, but using the lenses described in the 2nd chapter, it can be specified which direction human perception can take and a further effect can be calculated.

Based on the theory discussed in this paper, I can make a summary of the key important points of the visual anti-tobacco advertising for Russian auditorium:

The content of the poster should be interesting for as wide auditorium as possible: children, youth, adults and elderly;

The content should be very concentrated, laconic and clear so that the spectator understand it in full and as shortly as possible;

The sense of the advertisement is plain enough to be understood only according to its direct meaning and does not rise any questions or incomprehension;

The information displayed contains incontestable argumentations that the auditorium perceives as trustworthy (e.g. in the 3rd poster shown (Pic.3), where an emblem of the Health Ministry proves it by its name);

The content is memorable: visible link between a text and a picture, the use of rhythm and associative fields and a general creative representation that provokes astonishment, emotion of interest and emotion of joy;

The poster represents a qualitative change to life as a result of giving up smoking and being perceived by the smoker as addressed directly to him (e.g. a visual representation of a happy person with good health, nice nature with a slogan: 'Only being healthy I can succeed in my life.' I should highlight that the use of 'I' and 'my life' is necessary instead of 'You' and 'your life').

The problem of smoking has to be described as negative through positive, therefore people seeing it will not reflectively stop their perception. The positive effect on smokers of the posters I tested is relative low, because of their content being mainly negative that provoked the emotions of fear and suffering and prevented the respondents from further interest.

The use of channel factors by explaining the solution of the problem should emphasise the desired effect on public (e.g. depicting in poster a telephone call to a social help line for smokers where a social worker talk to a smoker and after e few more depictions the final image representing a happy, successful, healthy and smiling person.)

Finally, the field of Social Advertising in Russia is almost unexplored and needs in depths social researches to find the key controls of population in terms of reducing the level of smokers in the country. As it was clearly seen from the interviews, the rise of the price on tobacco and prohibition of the commercial tobacco advertisements should have a very positive effect; otherwise widely distributed commercials only reduce or even absorb the whole positive effect from the social anti-tobacco campaign.