“Fail to succeed”



Fail to succeed


Ontario Ministry of Health





Product Category:

government, Health / Beauty / Personal Care, healthcare

OOH Format:

Static & digital posters (campuses & resto-bars)


Canada, ON


Over the years, public health ads often talk about the importance of quitting smoking, however they don’t necessarily speak honestly about how hard it is to kick the habit for good.

The agency decided the “Be a Failure” campaign would let young smokers know it’s okay to quit over, and over, and over again. Because the next time might be the last time.

Target Group:

Millennials and Gen Zs

Strategy and Media Used:

The “Be a Failure” campaign reached millennial and Gen Z smokers on another item they often have in their hands: a phone. To intercept the habit of social browsing while smoking, the campaign appeared in Facebook and Twitter feeds, reinforced by influencers who generated their own posts on the topic. Static and digital posters were also placed on campuses and in resto-bars. Digital video provided a thumb-stopping option while browsing, and mobile-optimized display appeared alongside age-relevant content.


Embracing failure was a success. Post-campaign tracking reported that the key behaviour change metric (“seriously intend to quit”) improved 20% above health ministry norms. Average time spent on the “Quit Resources” website was over three times above government norms, and the campaign generated a 17% lift in immediate intentions to quit. Eighty-seven percent of those who saw the ads accepted that it will take double the amount of attempts to quit before they succeed. The campaign also generated a 17 point lift in intention to quit among regular smokers and one-sixth of the 600,000 target indicated serious interest in exploring quitting resources.