Early 2018 saw us take on the task of using advertising to reduce the impact of smoking in Wales when we began working with Public Health Wales on its national Help Me Quit campaign.

The campaign sought to drive smokers not only to quit, but to do so using NHS services, which are four times more effective than quitting alone. With insight showing that audiences from deprived communities feel the negative effects of smoking the most, the brief focused on achieving results among C2DE audiences.


  • Inspire 3,968 individuals to begin their quit journey using NHS services
  • Use behaviour change methods to support the decreasing prevalence and impact of smoking in Wales


Intelligent insight and continual optimisation tactics are at the heart of this campaign.

We began with detailed insight about our C2DE audiences gained from our numerous research platforms, including Experian MOSAIC.

Members of our team then actually spent time training with Public Health Wales’ behaviour change scientists to learn the principles of behaviour change and understand methods that could be utilised within our campaign creative.

With all this information we were able to craft out a campaign creative that not only spoke directly to the campaign’s core C2DE audience but that normalised quitting behaviour through use of everyday models and a playful “We’re doing it” message.

Our channel strategy saw campaign messages delivered through a mix of TV, out of home, PR and a multi-faceted digital campaign that used a wide range of audience and messaging combinations to deliver the greatest ROI.

Utilising Search, Display, YouTube, Facebook and Remarketing in conjunction with our overarching fully integrated campaign, we have pushed innovation boundaries in terms of Welsh public sector marketing initiatives.

The result is a working model that has been branded the hallmark of how to utilise agency support among Public Health Wales’ entire organisation — with senior executives citing the campaign model as one to be rolled out across other areas of public health marketing.


Since the campaign begun we have worked in complete partnership with Public Health Wales to conduct regular review and optimisation, with digital activity in particular providing a myriad of insights that are reported transparently and used practically to feed back into and improve the campaign tactics.

A key tactical change was the move from flagship peak TV slots to an ‘always-on’ approach utilising cost-effective daytime TV solutions. Since the new activity began, results grew rapidly with subsequent months achieving double that of previous.

Likewise, a recommendation from our team to troubleshoot failing conversion rates through a new, bespoke website saw our web developers produce an attractive and mobile-optimised new site, designed with the clear purpose of converting visitors — a move that saw web conversion rates rise 14% year-on-year.

These changes are borne from a solid agency-client relationship that sees us talk regularly, report transparently, and pragmatically address areas that are not working and change them for the better, together.

Ultimately, the partnership between our two organisations has had a true impact on campaign performance and is supporting vital work in Wales to limit the devastating effects of smoking.


  • Challenging KPI of 3,986 conversions in 2018-19 campaign period exceeded
  • Web traffic up 93% vs. same period last year
  • Conversions up 114% vs. same period last year
  • New website has helped increase web conversion rate by 14% year-on-year – meaning our campaign is working more intelligently and more cost-effectively
  • Our search campaign conversion rate: avg. 7% vs. industry standard of 2-3% – demonstrating that our ads are more relevant to our audience and are working more cleverly to achieve results vs. spend
  • Our YouTube view-throughs: 33% of people watched our creative vs. industry standard of 17% – showing our creative is achieving cut-through with our audience

“In the past year our relationship with S3 Advertising has gone from strength to strength. They have taken their time to understand our specific requirements and we work closely together to develop creative and optimise our Help Me Quit campaign to maximise our return on investment. We have developed an open and transparent relationship which has enabled us to capitalise on the knowledge and skills that both organisations bring.

S3 Advertising have helped us to use our insights on our target audience to develop a campaign that is effectively reaching smokers from social grades C2DE. They have also enabled us learn from testing innovative approaches to raising awareness of Help Me Quit including hyperlocal advertising at international football and rugby matches. This year we are hoping to further refine and build on these approaches using the expertise that S3 Advertising bring. Our innovative work with S3 Advertising is widely recognised by our stakeholders and the learning we have acquired is being applied to other public health lifestyle related campaigns.”

– Christian Heathcote-Elliott / Principal Public Health Practitioner