CITY HALL — The second time’s a charm for the no-smoking campaign.
Less than four months after the City Council criticized a set of proposed marketing ideas around the new anti-smoking regulations as uninspiring, a revised version that aims to be more engaging received the thumbs up from officials to move forward.
The most recent iteration revolves around the child-like concept of identifying the lone outsider in a group of items under a central theme, playing to the tagline, “Smoking doesn’t belong here.”
The campaign will include strategically-placed posters and reminder cards where the images displayed will be site specific. For example, a table tent proposed for restaurants usage show images of a tied bunch of uncooked pasta, breadsticks, asparagus and cigarettes, playfully hinting that “One of these doesn’t belong here.” On the other side of the card is the main tagline.
A similar sign that would be posted at the beach shows a palm tree, vertically-placed surfboard and cigarette butt.
“There is a moment of discovery that really cements that message,” said Roxana Janka, the vice president of Southard Communications, which devised the marketing concept. “We feel that we successfully met the challenges that council put forth to make it more playful and engaging.”
The consultant will move ahead with finalizing the designs and releasing a series of campaign materials, including signs, advertisements, Web site, and a collateral business toolkit that will contain “friendly reminder” tips, cards and window clings.
The council was more receptive to the latest concept.
“I think it was well done,” Mayor Ken Genser said.
Genser said he had mixed feelings about the original design and felt he could have voted either way.
“I thought it was kind of boring and not real clear but at the same time I thought it was acceptable,” he said.
The former version was crafted after the consultant surveyed more than 800 residents, businesses, visitors and tourists on the phone and the street, determining their attitude toward the anti-smoking regulations and rating their own level of compliance. Four preliminary concepts were then presented to two focus groups, one made up of residents and the other of business owners. The two highest testing logos and designs were selected to move forward.
Both of the concepts spoke to the idea of keeping the air clean, using the slogans, “Pureair Santa Monica” and “Care for our air.”
The campaign aims to educate residents and visitors about the handful of smoking regulations that have been adopted in the past several years, including bans at beaches, parks, outdoor dining areas and bars and within 20 feet of any door or window of a building that is publicly accessible. The council last year also passed a regulation to hold restaurant owners and managers liable if they knowingly allowed their customers to light up, requiring that they post no-smoking signs in their establishment.
The council hired Southard Communication last year on a $150,000 contract to create the marketing campaign.
“This is a more direct campaign as opposed to the former care for our air,” Janka said. “This is very clear in communicating the places where you cannot smoke.”