QUITPLAN Services Help Get Monkey Off Smokers' Backs

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A new television spot and advertising campaign from QUITPLAN Services will launch December 29, just in time for Minnesota smokers who want to quit in 2009. Created by ClearWay Minnesota(SM), QUITPLAN Services provide free professional counseling for Minnesotans looking to quit smoking. The new campaign will focus on getting the "monkey" of a smoking addiction off one's back. Campaign elements will include statewide television, radio, online, and bus and truck sides.

The ads, created by Minneapolis agency Clarity Coverdale Fury, use a unique blend of live action and animation to realize the metaphor of the monkey on the smoker's back. The television ad features a pack of cigarettes that tempt a smoker by morphing into iconic cigarette marketing images, which then change into a monkey that jumps on the smoker's back. Ultimately, the monkey falls harmlessly off, as the smoker contacts QUITPLAN Services.

"We know that the majority of Minnesotans who smoke want to quit and have tried to get that monkey off their back without success," said David Willoughby, Chief Executive Officer of ClearWay Minnesota. "Our new campaign plays into that struggle with smoking and offers hope to successfully quit for the New Year. We want to encourage Minnesotans to use the proven tools of QUITPLAN Services to quit tobacco and live healthier in 2009."

The animation and video is provided by Superfad, a production company that shot the ads in Minneapolis. To view the ad online before it goes live, visit clearwaymn.org .

In addition to being unhealthy for the smoker, tobacco use takes its toll on all Minnesotans. Each year, 5,600 Minnesotans die from tobacco-related diseases, and the cost of smoking is estimated to be $2 billion in direct health care costs.

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QUITPLAN Services for Minnesotans include:

-- The QUITPLAN Helpline -- The QUITPLAN Helpline, 1-888-354-PLAN, offers telephone counseling and free nicotine patches, lozenges or gum to eligible callers.

-- quitplan.com -- The website offers free lifetime membership, helpful quitting tools and activities, and the chance to connect online with thousands of others who have chosen to quit tobacco.

-- QUITPLAN Centers -- QUITPLAN Centers provide in-person counseling in a healthcare setting, as well as access to nicotine patches, lozenges or gum.

-- Community-Tailored QUITPLAN Centers -- A combination of stop-smoking tools and culturally-tailored counseling for communities of color.

-- QUITPLAN at Work -- The QUITPLAN at Work program offers free on-site professional group counseling for eligible businesses with at least eight employees ready to stop smoking.

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