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Creative campaign highlighting dangers of illegal cigarettes


Illicit cigarette trade robs South Africans of nearly R6 billion in SARS revenue annually therefore impacting positive social development for the country. These cigarettes are manufactured in uncontrolled environments. Their cheap prices make them easily accessible to the public, especially young people, thereby undermining the government’s public health agenda. Distribution of these illegal cigarettes is often part and parcel of other illegal criminal operations.

Joe Public United was tasked by client British American Tobacco South Africa to raise awareness about the negative economic and social impact of the illegal cigarette trade and to appeal to law enforcement agencies to do more. An integrated communications campaign was launched and underpinned with the slogan, #KeepIt100SA which asks the public to choose 100% authentic cigarettes and to reject and report illicit ones.

The Keep It 100 campaign also includes the recent tactical billboard in Johannesburg (; a poignant demonstration that smoking illegal cigarettes, and the consequent loss of tax, has a socio-economic impact. The burning billboard featured a photograph of low cost housing, while others featured photographs of a hospital and school burning down. The ATL concept is supported by Connect Joe Public for digital and Ignite Joe Public for experiential activations.

The television commercial demonstrates the unhygienic manufacturing of these cigarettes as well as the criminal and underground syndicates involved in their transportation. The commercial is underpinned by the statement “If you smoke it, you’re part of it” which highlights, if you know where your illegal cigarette comes from and what it has been involved in, you might think twice about smoking them.

All campaign elements drive to #KeepIt100SA, visiting the website provides more information on illegal cigarettes,

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