Publicis HSE stings distract Euro fans

Publicis Dublin and Quit from the HSE use the sponsorship of the ongoing Euro qualifiers for the Republic of Ireland football team to highlight how ad breaks during games can be a battle for smokers that are trying to give up the habit for good. The campaign includes 10” and 7” stings that top and tail each ad break on RTÉ before, during and after each match.

Ad breaks during live sports are often unconscious triggers for people to smoke. Evidence-based research shows that distraction is an effective tool to help those who want to quit smoking. The challenge was to take each intro and outro bumper and effectively use them to occupy the entire ad break for smokers. The stings are designed to provoke a pause.

The hope is to distract viewers by keeping them in their seats, or suggesting something else that they can do during the ad break. This gives smokers a chance to win their battle and help them quit – no matter how the Irish team is doing on the field. The creative uses an arresting ‘flash card’ style, to pique interest before posing an intriguing challenge or question.


Each break sting has a different task for viewers – from peeling an orange, to learning how to juggle, emptying the dishwasher or solving an anagram. The closing break sting includes a message about the support can offer smokers.

Aghna Harte, HSE,  said that by giving viewers a task at the start of each break they hope to encourage a ‘don’t break’ instead of a ‘smoke break’. Ronan Nulty of Publicis said that watching the Republic of Ireland was nerve-wracking enough. “You’d forgive anyone for wanting to take a break. With this short series we’re providing random distractions.”

The HSE sponsorship will run for the rest of the Euro qualifiers, which resume in September.



Head of campaigns: Aghna Harte

Campaign manager: Darina Carr

HSE campaign director: Rachel Wright


Business director: Karen Muckian

Senior account director: David Carter

Executive creative director: Ronan Nulty

Senior art director: Nick Doring

Senior copywriter: Paul O’Loughlin

Motion graphics: Cormac O’Connor

Motion graphics and editing: Jordan Dempsey

Senior producer: Rachel Murray

Agency producer: Meghan Rowley

Sound: Folding Waves





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