Most cigarette smokers want to quit, but fewer than one in ten smokers succeed in quitting without the right support mechanisms in place. Pfizer Pharmaceuticals partnered with CubeZoo to help South African smokers wanting to quit, providing an innovate mobile application that highlighted the benefits of quitting.
The app, called MyTimeToStart, educated smokers about the realities of smoking and used clever methods to engage their emotions to trigger them to quit. Ranging from money and fitness to beauty and self-worth, the app emphasised the negative effects of smoking and the benefits of giving up the habit.
CubeZoo and Pfizer wanted to stress the benefits of quitting through measurable examples for each individual, using their interactions with the app to inform them of the health and financial implications. This was far more of a challenge in 2013 when the app was developed than it would be today.
Back then, heath monitoring apps and gadgets like Fitbits didn’t exist, and there were far fewer resources for the CubZoo development team to make use of. This meant the CubeZoo team had to engineer new technology to achieve a number of the app features.
The app was native to IOS and Android, so everything the team achieved on one platform had to be implemented on the other. A hybrid solution was an option, but it wasn't as mainstream back then as it is today, so we decided to develop the app natively.
The team found smart ways to utilize the smartphone hardware to achieve the results they were looking for. For example, using the camera on the back of the phone, the team created a blood pressure monitor. By placing their index finger over the camera, the user was able to get a blood pressure reading as the light from the camera illuminated the blood vessels in the fingertip, with the camera capturing changes in intensity as the blood flowed through the vessels with each heartbeat.
At each touchpoint, the app would feature a ‘Quit Smoking’ button. Once a user clicked the button, the app would geo-locate their closest doctor, dentist or pharmacy on a map and instruct the user to present the app. The specialist would then know that they were there for the MyTimeToStart campaign and would prescribe them Champex, a drug that helps in quitting smoking.
Despite the challenges, this ambitious project was an immense success, with many users sharing the app with friends and family.