Was "Ain't No Smoking 2nite" Doomed? Social Manipulation is an effective tool for marketing success!

35 pubs and bars on Gemmayze Street in Beirut participated in the non-smoking night* that took place on Wednesday 28 October. Nevertheless, many of these establishments did not uphold to their promise to the organizing NGO, Rotaract, and were blazing with glittering buds and retortful puffs. I know I am late on the posting train** about that, but I have been analyzing it backwards and forward thinking: “What would’ve been done to make it a success and give non-smokers a night to ENJOY?”

One one of the pubs we passed had a 'bright' marketing ploy - an anti-campaign - "Smoking Friendly environment".

One one of the pubs we passed had a 'bright' marketing ploy - an anti-campaign - "Smoking Friendly environment".

The answer is very simple: Education, Promotion, Reward and Punishment!

Admittedly, all nights are busy in Gemmayze, and from my new born addiction to Dinner Dash I can now see how hard it is to cater to all the client’s needs. Nevertheless, on this special night an extra effort by the Ushers, Managers and Waiters in welcoming the guests and explaining the event their establishment is participating in would’ve gone a long way. Just Putting the leaflets on each table, would ‘ve served the purpose. For instance, the vile smokers in our restaurant did not know / have not been told that the night was a non-smoking night (or so they told us).  This is something Rotaract needs to educate all the pubs about for next year to avoid any mishaps.

A further step to be taken, is finding out who the smokers are and thanking them in advance for making this effort and providing a happy environment for all. Maybe some brochure or leaflet which included a thank you, the accomplishment they are making, ways to quit… would’ve helped if physical time was unavailable.

Now for reward. In my world a LOT is focused on giveaways, and promotional materials. What could help smoker’s through the night? Some nicotine patches and nicotine gum distributed at entry would have further enhanced the night’s theme and would’ve made any smoker beyond shameful to light up inside. and if smokers were to go outside for a smoke, why not thank them by a mini-desert or a free drink? Smokers could also be given extra privileges like a 10% discount for their next visit, or even faster service.

And now for PUNISHMENT, shaming is a good punishment. And here I have a great story to tell you!

This weekend we came back home to some poop on near our flat’s entrance (which is also shared by our neighbors). What simply stepped over it and ignored it (I’m not cleaning that!). But what our two neighbors did was INGENIOUS, and I have to  give them so much credit for thinking of this! They wrote on an A4 the following: ” Please clean after your DOG, our entrance is not a TOILET!“***  and pinned it to the door. And when we came back in the afternoon, the poop was gone and the A4 was snatched from the door. Justice has prevailed!

The pubs and bars that participated in the event have benefited immensely from the free publicity and the extra amount of visitors who wanted to relax in a smoke free environment. But what about negative publicity? What about Rotaract binding them to some penal clause in case of breach and monitoring them more effectively? And a last word on shaming, what if those vile smokers from our story were faced off by the ‘metre’ after they lit up, who would have with a smile reminded them of the policy and offered them a desert / drink on the house  (had they been informed about the policy in the first place)? You see the reward – punishment (in our case shaming) – reward is a very effective and simple manipulation tool that or parents have used on us, and at heart we’re all children!

Dear Rotaract! Us non-smokers really need this night to be a full success next year!

__________________________________________________________________________________

* You can check out The Star Scene photos of the Night

** Check out these great posts by Lilliane & Maya.

*** turns out one of our new neighbors has a dog :S

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  1. Paola’s avatar

    Thanks Darine for this post! Even If i am a part-time smoker, i really don’t like coming back home with my lovely-smelling hair polluted by the cigarette smell (and to be honest, cold tobacco has to be one of the foulest smell on earth). Here in Geneva, we have had a lot of trouble implementing the ban on smoking in public spaces: a lot of back and forth, with people declaring the passed law null and void, calling for a new referendum. Finally, the law has past and is I hope iron-cast :-)
    It is true that to encourage smoking outside of pubs and bars, the owners should educate their clients and explain the reasons behind the initiative, rewarding them with freebies for not smoking inside. In France they did that with alcohol, with a campaign called “Celui qui conduis c’est celui qui ne boit pas” offering soft drinks to the driver, with many other little gift. A success!

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