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Channel 4 and Cancer Research UK launch online film competition for young people

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by Cancer Research UK | News

1 October 2007

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Channel 4’s 4Talent and Cancer Research UK launch BREATHE on Monday 1 October 2007 – a joint initiative to produce a series of short online films to encourage young smokers to quit and deter others from starting. The competition launch coincides with new legislation making it illegal to sell tobacco products to people under the age of 18, an increase from 16.

The partnership with 4Talent will enable Cancer Research UK to tap into a wealth of new ideas to create a high-impact peer-to-peer campaign to best communicate the dangers of smoking to other young people. 4Talent will manage the nationwide solicit and run workshops to turn submitted ideas into powerful viral messages.

Jean King, Cancer Research UK’s director of tobacco control, said: “We’re very excited about this competition – teenagers are precisely the ‘hard-to-reach’ group with whom anti-smoking campaigns are struggling to connect. This presents an opportunity for us to communicate with young people in a way that is relevant to them and we hope it will help change teenagers attitudes towards smoking.”

James Estill, Senior Producer, 4Talent, said: “Over the years I’ve learnt never to underestimate the creativity of teenagers, so I’m really looking forward to seeing their ideas for what is a notoriously tricky message to convey.”

DJ Spoony, who is helping to promote the competition to 13-18 year olds, said: “I’m really pleased to be supporting this project – I feel passionate about finding ways to get young people to stop smoking and involving them in a creative campaign is a great way to do that.”

The process:

  • 13 to 18-year-olds submit ideas on how best to communicate the dangers of cigarette smoking and encourage young smokers to quit.
  • Ten teenagers with the best ideas will be invited to attend a two-day workshop at Channel 4 in London, where they will attend industry master-classes and story development sessions.
  • The young people will be tasked to develop a storyboard and treatment with guidance from a professional production team.
  • The ten ideas will then be tested in focus groups.
  • After testing, a minimum of four treatments will be chosen by a selection panel
  • The films will be produced with input from the winning finalists.
  • The films will be distributed virally via the Internet.

Closing date for applications will be midnight on Monday 10th December. Full details of the competition can be found at

This competition is being funded by the Department of Health. For information about the change in age of sale of tobacco products, visit