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Thailand: competition yields tough health ads

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As part of the WHO-funded “Smokefree Thailand Advertising Contest” run by the Action on Smoking and Health Foundation of Thailand (ASH), advertising companies were invited to submit entries with prize money of up to 20 000 baht (US$570) to be won. Over 20 advertising companies entered the contest and produced 163 adverts on the five themes: non-smoking generation (35 entries); women and tobacco (26 entries); passive smoking (33 entries); impotence (58 entries); and the financial costs of smoking (11 entries). Winners were announced at a press conference in April 1999 and presented with their awards at ASH’s professionals for health conference held in Bangkok in May. Entries were displayed at the Lad Prao shopping centre in Bangkok as part of the World No Tobacco Day exhibition held there. ASH sent out high quality copies of the ads to newspapers and magazines throughout Thailand, and many have been run. ASH rates the operation a big success, and plans to run it again next year, expanded to include radio and television ads. They remind others who run similar schemes to include the cost of making the “mock ups” into full ads in any funding proposal, and to explain to entrants that they must respect copyright rules.