Best practices in utilizing
media funds for quitline promotion – 7/5/05
We are working on getting our quitline up
and running and I'm wondering, for those states who have separate
tobacco media $$, what do they suggest are the best ways to
spend that money in support of quitline efforts, especially
in the beginning (basically the best way to utilize the media
vendor and media dollars for the quitline)?
- Kansas: We sent a simple one-page information
sheet with every Medicaid mailing one month and doubled
our number of calls to the quit line. We repeated this in
6 months and again had a spike. The cost was printing only.
The flyers were English on one side and Spanish on the other.
- Oklahoma: Recommendations for media spending:
- Utilize earned media opportunities instead of spending
media dollars for paid media activities.
- Associate spending of media dollars with very specific
campaigns, i.e., promotion of Great American Smoke Out,
World No Tobacco Day, etc.
- Avoid spending media dollars for production of print,
billboard, television and radio spots -- use CDC media
campaign resource center for access to free and lower
cost media campaigns.
- Oregon: Television advertising of the
Quit Line number works consistently - of course depending
on which ads you use and how often you are able to play
them. My experience is that the better the ad, the more
calls. The Media Campaign Resource Center has good, tested
ads for very low cost available to states. Testimonials
by real people seem to drive the most calls.
TV advertising, however, is very expensive. Our analysis
is that the average cost of advertising on daytime TV is
approximately $100 per call and that the average cost on
evening (primetime) TV is approximately $600 per call.
More cost effective is using your media firm to do a strong
earned media campaign for the kick-off of your Quit Line,
then following up with as much advertising as you can afford,
given the call volume you want to achieve. Earned media
works to drive calls - people trust what they see on the
news and a new Quit Line is news!
If you want to drive LOTS of calls, use earned media to
announce the giveaway of free NRT in some form. With limited
promotion and one poorly attended press conference announcing
2 week starter kits of NRT, we generated about 25 times
our normal call volume (overwhelming our vendor - you would
need to carefully work out your operational issues!) and
leveled out after several months to approximately 3 times
our normal volume with no additional advertising purchase.
Of course, you have to buy the NRT, but along with driving
calls, it also helps people quit!
- Rhode Island: We promoted the 1-800-Try-To-Stop
quitline on television over a period of 6 months and did
not buy any other media. We used real quitters (from RI)
in our ads that used the quitline to quit smoking. We promoted
free counseling, free patch and free gum. This was a very
effective strategy. The calls to the quitline were so many
that we overwhelmed the cessation system and had to cancel
our last month of TV media buys. However, during this time
our statewide smokefree workplace law went into effect and
we had a brief paid media campaign on TV, print and on the
radio. We also feel the law motivated some smokers to quit.
Clearly, our data shows that TV is the most effective channel
for reaching smokers with a quit message and call to action.
When we have enough funds to buy other media, we have bought
radio, print and outdoor advertising and that has been effective
(but not as effective as television).
- Utah: Some of the strategies we used
to promote our Quit Line included a kick-off news event,
at which we had a person who wanted to quit make the "first
call". We also promoted the QL through an extensive
TV campaign, and developed credit card-sized "quit
cards" with the phone number on them, and made use
of numerous added value opportunities. Contact Lena
Dibble for more details.
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