Helping thousands of people to quit smoking

A 23red partnership case study



The idea: October becomes 'Stoptober'

In collaboration with: OgilvyOne / Dare / MEC / M&C Saatchi / Freud Communications / Carat and Kantar

Since 2012 we have been part of an inter-agency team driving the ‘January effect’ quit attempts during the ‘Stoptober’ initiative, the 28-day, mass participation stop-smoking challenge.

Drawing on behavioural economics, Stoptober breaks down the process of quitting into bite-sized chunks, presents it as a more manageable 28 days, and rallies people around a specific date to all get started.

Building a coalition of partners

We deepened engagement with partners by developing new, innovative assets to enable partners to go further than signposting, and enable them to motivate and support smokers throughout the 28-day challenge.

We developed powerful partnerships, with almost 80% of pharmacies across England driving presence on the high street, utilising Stoptober as a conversation starter to provide crucial medicinal guidance. 

Helping employers to support their staff with quitting

We worked with 267 employer partners, reaching 1.5 million employees in England. 

The ‘Break the Habit’ toolkit was developed to help employers support their smokers in their ‘smoking break’ – a vulnerable moment for our target audience.

Break Cards provided displacement ideas to distract smokers and a countdown wall-chart allowed Stoptober participants to track their progress with fellow quitters, chunking the behaviour down even further to one day at a time.  


Taking Stoptober to the people

17,830 people were engaged face-to-face via Local Authority events.



Amongst numerous other industry awards, Stoptober has won Gold at the IPM Awards, Silver at the IMC European Awards, an IPA Best of Health Award and was a winner at the CIM Marketing Excellence Awards in the Social Marketing category.

It has also won a super-rare Gold IPA Effectiveness Award.