Quit Victoria - Breaking Habits

Deakin Explore Bot CASE STUDY PREV Four'N Twenty Save Our Slang CASE STUDY NEXT

A socially driven campaign that used behavioural insights and targeted content to help smokers develop the skills they needed to quit and stay quit.

2017 AIMIA/AMY Finalist: Digitally Led Marketing Campaign - Government & Not-for-profit
2017 AMI Awards Winner - Not for Profit Marketing Category


Quit Victoria has a long history of mass market, above-the-line campaigns, often employing graphic and emotionally-charged spots to establish motivation to quit among Victorian smokers.

Research showed 84% of Victorian smokers had tried and failed to quit smoking at least once, while over half had tried to quit and failed multiple times. Most smokers wanted to quit but lacked the confidence, self awareness and skills to do so successfully.

Quit briefed Hardhat on a campaign that would help provide Victorian smokers who were looking to quit with the skills and confidence they needed.


We learned that while the physical addiction to smoking (caused by nicotine) is completely gone within four weeks of the last cigarette, the typical quitting journey often took smokers weeks, months or even years. To address this, we decided to focus less on the physical, and more on the behavioural and emotional aspects of addiction. We wanted to change more than the way people quit; we wanted to change the way people thought about quitting.

Hardhat consulted leading psychologists, Quit specialists and subject matter experts to better understand the range of methods being used to overcome addiction. From here, we honed in on Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), a technique that focuses on developing personal coping strategies by helping individuals identify and change unhelpful patterns in how they think, feel and behave.

From here, we created a suite of content to help teach smokers the skills and techniques needed to quit more effectively. Videos and long form content were developed to address three aspects of addiction;

  1. Habitual smoking ‘triggers’
  2. Routine smoking behaviours
  3. Emotional links with smoking

The educational vignettes were complimented by real life testimonials, in which former smokers explained how these techniques had aided their quitting journeys.

With the ‘Breaking Habits’ content hub in place, we needed a way to draw the right audience in, using a combination of paid and owned media. Quit Victoria’s target audience (the 13% of Victorians still smoking) was spread out across a number of segments, each spanning different age ranges, socioeconomic statuses, motivations, attitudes and media behaviours.

To capture such a diverse audience, we adapted our ‘hub’ content into dozens of short form variants (‘spokes’), with each piece designed to drive inbound traffic by appealing to a particular segment’s underlying motivations and attitudes. To maximise impact and efficiency, each was also crafted to take full advantage of the channel in which it was going to be consumed, whether that was Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Gmail, radio, native advertising or the Google Display Network.


Despite a limited media budget, the purpose built creative and audience targeting strategies saw the campaign achieve over 10 million impressions, over 500,000 video views and over 200,000 points of engagement.

Qualitative post campaign research also showed incredibly positive results;

  • Participants who had been exposed to the campaign were 15% more likely to feel confident in dealing with their cues and triggers, 16% more likely to feel confident in dealing with stressful situations and 10% more likely to feel confident in their ability to avoid smoking in social situations compared with participants who had not been exposed to the campaign*.
  • 70% of participants reported the campaign’s creative was thought provoking and highly relatable to their own addiction.


I want to


get in touch