NHS Get Unhooked From Smoking

The UK’s Department of Health and Smoke Free recently commissioned an advertising campaign warning about the addictive power of nicotine and encouraging smokers to kick their habit for the New Year. See the four posters from the print campaign .

Officer worker is hooked by smoking

In “Office” an office worker is on the phone, arranging to see someone on the 9th. As he puts the phone down he breathes nervously. All of a sudden a large fish hook has him snagged in the mouth, the barb protruding through his cheek. He’s dragged along the corridors and down the stairs of his office building, out into the open where he can open up a pack of cigarettes. The voiceover: “The average smoker needs over 5000 cigarettes a year. Get unhooked. Call 0800 169 0 169 or visit getunhooked.co.uk. Click on the image below to play the video in YouTube

In “Mum and Man On The Street” A woman folds washing while her child plays a video game. “10 more minutes then homework, yeah?” As she looks at the rain out the window she’s snagged by a hook, pulling her to the kitchen where’s she can grab a cigarette. The voiceover: “The average smoker needs over 5000 cigarettes a year”. Out on the street a pedestrian iis caught by the urge and dragged into a store where he can buy his cigarettes. “Get unhooked. Call 0800 169 0 169 or visit getunhooked.co.uk”. Click on the image below to play the video in YouTube

Mum looks at the hook that has been in her mouth


The Get Unhooked campaign was developed at Miles Calcraft Briginshaw Duffy by creative director Paul Briginshaw and Malcolm Duffy with agency producer Russell Taylor. Briginshaw and Duffy were inspired by a Jeff Stark’s 1998 short film, Desserts, in which Ewan McGregor’s character is hooked on chocolate eclairs.

Filming was directed by Jeff Stark via Another Film Company, London, with director of photography Ben Davis and producer Cathy Green. The hook trick was achieved by attaching the barbed hook to a large prosthetic piece of skin. The main part of the hook was held by a metal plate inside the cheek.

Post production was done at The Moving Picture Company, London.

Sound and music were the responsibility of Peter Challis and Bernd W├╝rtz at A-Bomb Music, London. Listen out for the sound of whispering voices and the whirring fishing reel.

  • J. Allsop

    An ad to stop smoking is great, but to have someone with a fish hook in their mouth is not on, and should be removed from public view. Anyone who tries to copy that advert could end up with an infected mouth, and worse half their mouth ripped out if trying it for a bet or fun. Hope next time you come up with something more acceptable.

  • R Clarke

    I feel your fish hook advert is one of the most sadistic adverts I have seen and do not feel that young children or adults should be exposed to this type of advert. It is as bad as an over 18 year old movie. I was surprised to see these are placed in doctors surgeries for the young to see, and can only imagine what a horrible impression this makes on a young persons mind at an early age.

    It is supposed to make you give up smoking? I don’t think so, I cannot even bare to look at the advert and cannot imagine what your marketing people were thinking about.

    • J Simpson

      ermm i believe that you are so wrong
      it has no gore sex or swearing
      and as for it being worse than 18 film
      check out braindead,nighmtmare on elm street etc
      trust me
      this is care bears compared to them

  • Tony Willis

    They are tough ads but giving up smoking is difficult and “shock therapy” can help.

    The fish hooks are the lesser of two evils and if even 10% of smokers quit many lives will be saved and many children may not start smoking.

  • Paul Frankfurt

    Great anti-smoking commercials. I also enjoyed this one…

  • sade

    i think that all though this advert is a very provocative one. its as as extream as the urge to people to quite smoking and maybe the menicing image’s will stay with people when they decide they may want to smoke a ciggarette. this is the whole problem with our society today we all want solutions but nothing is ever good enough, i think that allthough i dont agree with this advert being on befor 9 pm it is a brilliant concept and was directed brilliantly..

  • sofoula

    Congratulations! This adverts are very strong because they describe exactly the crash forcigarettes. It in a moment i was ready to start again even when i know ” never take another puff”. Great also help is the site of Joel Spitzer.
    Thank you.