Robertino Zambrano reveals smokers' struggles in gorgeously animated PSAs

Giving up the odd drink for Dry January is one thing. Quitting smoking? Quite another, as made evident by three visceral and figurative films portraying the imperfect path towards stubbing out for good.

Directed by Robertino Zambrano, the series of animated films is based on authentic, first-hand accounts of quitting smoking, artfully capturing each individual's emotional journey through three distinct design languages.

After conducting hours of interviews with over 100 real smokers, Robertino created a bespoke animated aesthetic for Ryan, Steven, and George, sensitively representing their journeys' authentic voice and personality. For Steven's film, Robertino and the team created a cut-out graphic/collage-like approach, inspired by Suprematist art. George's story meanwhile came to life using traditional 2D animation and elegant, figurative yet minimal design. Finally, for Ryan's experience (embedded above), a painterly 2D puppet approach was taken – rich with layering and texture.

Zambrano, who has a rich history of using animation to portray real-life stories sensitively, explains: "I was attracted to the brief for its commitment to evocative storytelling. It wasn't a simple animation piece; there was a documentary layer to it. We met, interviewed and got to know people from different walks of life and their smoking journey. I revelled in the opportunity to present their journey and voice in a creative yet authentic way."

The films are part of a multi-faceted campaign led by Duncan Channon for the California Department of Public Health's CA Tobacco Control Program, which normalises the quitting process, and reaches current smokers and vapers in a human and empathetic way.

With COVID-19 causing record numbers of people to attempt to quit smoking or vaping, the campaign also includes radio spots built around these personal stories, as well as digital and social creative that calls audiences to 'Quit for Covid'.


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