STC’s Anti-Tobacco Stand In KSA Makes Deep Impact

The Saudi Telecom Company (STC) undertook an important campaign earlier in the year, when it took a stand against tobacco consumption, creating a Kingdom-wide conversation that attracted comments from masses and social media influencers alike, and subsequent media attention. The media agency for STC, Starcom Middle East, conceptualized and executed the campaign.

Tobacco consumption in Saudi Arabia reaches alarming levels. Some of the facts include:
#1. The country consumes 99 tons of tobacco annually, spending more than SR 33 billion.
#2. It is the fourth largest importer globally.
#3. About 45 percent of the male populace, over 15 years of age, includes smokers.
#4. Smoking kills 72 people a day here in the country, and 23,000 a year.

Acknowledging the dangers that tobacco is inflicting on the community, STC decided to fulfill its duty as a powerful brand and to act responsibly and embarked on a campaign to combat tobacco.

A campaign of this nature requires thinking. The key pillar had to be established in order to ensure the communication achieved a strong echo.

When: The campaign was scheduled to coincide, and build on, WHO’s No Tobacco Day to push the message through, as it would help raise complimentary awareness about the cause.

How: Hashtags, a contemporary medium, were used for the campaign’s messaging to spread a movement and make a powerful statement. The hashtag for the campaign was #طلقها

Where: Digital channels such as social, video platforms as well as outdoor advertising and radio were included in the media plan to build high levels of reach, in a short period of time.

The various media included in the plan were given specific roles.

In the out of home (OOH) media, large outdoor formats and in-mall LEDs were utilized to blast the message

The campaign video was promoted across multiple platforms including YouTube, Instagram and Facebook. As video accounts for 50 percent of mobile traffic, it was crucial to the campaign.


There was also mobile special banner execution. To extend reach, the campaign was spread on mobile apps and web networks in a manner that would facilitate the process of the audiences joining in the conversation. The ads started with the campaign video, and ended with a tweet button, where users could directly feed their audio via the tweet.

One of the most important components of the media plan was the Twitter conversational activation. Twitter was central to the communication as the platform where the hashtag was amplified and where audiences could engage with the campaign. The hashtag was pushed at the top of the trending hashtags on May 31, 2016.

In what it calls a regional first, STC pushed the beta format through Twitter including the video and a tweet button. Following the call to action, users could also pledge their support to the campaign.

“Engaging the society in conversations that matter is great but, when these conversations become a social movement then it means we did something right,” said Amjad Shacker, GM – Corporate Communications, STC.

“We continue to push the boundaries for our clients, even for well engaging brands like STC that is already established in the market and the community. We are very proud to be part of “Tallegha”, which is a great example of creating meaningful experience that build brands and enhance lives, while also achieving phenomenal results,” added Ramzi Ghanem, EVP of Publicis Media, KSA.

All channels contributed efficiently to generate elevated reach with a tremendous aftermath on a local and global level.

On the day of the campaign, May 31, it reached 78 million impressions across all platforms, 56 million impressions on Twitter alone, 3 millions views on the campaign video. The campaign reached over 10 million individuals.

At the end of six days, the campaign reached over 16 million individuals. The video hit 5 million page views and over 99 million impressions across all platforms.

1. 47K users tweeted with the hashtag
2. 2 billion impression globally
3. 10% Engagement rate of the hashtag
4. 3x average regional engagement rate of a brand initiated hashtag
5. 13K users pledged to the campaign using the sentence أنا أدعم حملة #طلقها

There was 80 percent positive sentiment captured from the users who have engaged with the campaign.

Most of the campaign amplification came from influencers who supported the campaign. At the same time, the campaign hashtag instigated negative reactions as well, especially since one of the hashtag’s meanings is ‘divorce her’.

Various organizations including news and health & sports also supported the campaign.

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