AN advertising campaign aimed at combating widespread smoking in local Aboriginal communities will be launched early next year.
Melbourne-based video production company NBS Productions was in the region last week working with Mildura Aboriginal Corporation (MAC) to film four television advertisements.
They will form part of an on-going campaign across multiple media to tackle smoking and promote healthier lifestyles.
With about 20 per cent of deaths in the Aboriginal community caused by smoking, the campaign works with local indigenous groups throughout production to raise awareness about health risks the habit poses to smokers and those around them.
“(That statistic) is very, very high – way, way higher than in the wider community – so it is important to get that message out,” NBS Productions director Wayne Tindall said.
“But it’s also passive smoking, which we’ve seen to be a bigger issue in Aboriginal communities and there’s lots of reasons for that, there are all sorts of issues that we don’t think about.”
With the ads to run locally, the campaign has carried a strong community focus from conception.
Ideas for the ads and their creative direction were shaped by the input of indigenous people, while local community members chosen through further consultation were favoured over actors to feature in the campaign.
MAC’s Tackling Smoking and Healthy Lifestyle manager Karla Akins hoped this approach would increase its effectiveness.
“We targeted those who aren’t smoking and those who are but wanted to stop, and they now have a public responsibility to be advocating for these commercials,” Ms Akins said.
“That’s why it was important for us not to hire actors but to hire members of the local community: so we could inject some money into the local communities as well as having some buy-in and responsibility on the individual and their families.”
Mr Tindall suggested that viewers would feel more of a connection to members of their local community than paid actors.
“When their own community members are playing the part, they tell everybody and everyone gets excited about it,” he said.
For more of this story, purchase your copy of Monday's Sunraysia Daily 05/11/2012.