Case study

In 2023 Headjam were engaged to collaborate with Awabakal Ltd on a public health campaign addressing prevention and cessation of smoking.

Awabakal are the leading Aboriginal medical provider in the Newcastle and Lake Macquarie region, and have served their community for more than 40 years. As part of their commitment to the Government funded ‘Tackling Indigenous Smoking’ initiative, a mass media campaign was developed to reach Aboriginal communities in the Awabakal service footprint.

Headjam and Awabakal Ltd have been collaborating since 2016, starting with a brand refresh and repositioning – and are dedicated to a true co-design relationship.

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Awabakal are the leading Aboriginal medical provider in the Newcastle and Lake Macquarie region. They have clinic locations in Cardiff, Maitland, Hamilton and Raymond Terrace, serving approximately 30% of the local Aboriginal population across these regions. Smoking is still a primary health issue for Awabakal clients, with 37.4% of Awabakal clients recording a current smoker status (Australian National average is 11.2%*).

Headjam have collaborated with Awabakal over the past five years on their Tackling Indigenous Smoking (TIS) initiatives. TIS is a Government funded initiative to promote smoking cessation and prevention in Aboriginal and Strait Islander communities. This initiative has been funded for the last 10 years. Whilst analysis of the success of the initiative is still underway, initial numbers suggest a drop in smoking of about 10% across the country, or 23,000 lives changed.

TIS is largely about population health promotion.This means getting the prevention and cessation messages to as many people as possible, with the intention to educate, change perceptions and lead people on a path to cessation.



To promote prevention and cessation of smoking in Aboriginal communities from Central Coast to Taree.

Target Audience

Aboriginal communities in Lake Macquarie, Newcastle, Port Stephens, Upper Central Coast, Taree.

Pregnant mothers were identified as a priority group. 29.4% of current Awabakal patients identified as smoking during pregnancy (compared to 8.8% in the general population).

Consumer Proposition

Positive change comes from quitting.

Desired Consumer Response

"I'm going to chat with the GP - I want to make a positive change to my health."

Creative Solution

We were tasked with delivering a public health message about smoking cessation - brought to you by Awabakal. Through our ongoing collaboration with Awabakal we knew tone was critically important – scare tactics and shame do not work. The tone needed to feel empowering – coming from a place of strength.

Through research we found that it was effective to highlight an individuals’ journey and leading factors for quitting smoking. We addressed this by executing multiple lines in the campaign to reflect the many personal and motivating reasons why people quit. These lines were developed through direct collaboration with the Awabakal team and broader community throughout the region.

Individual, hand-drawn typographic treatment was created for each execution to enhance the sense of an individual story. The graphic style of the messaging also echoes the style of a personal affirmation some people post up within their home when they are quitting.

An outdoor media strategy was developed to meet TIS reporting KPIs. This included high traffic sites, geographically located where there is a higher Aboriginal population.


The outdoor campaign meets the reach KPI for the TIS campaign with the capacity for more than 100,000 cars per day to be exposed to the campaign across its multiple locations.

Over the course of a six-month campaign this resulted in more than 18 million eyeballs on the campaign across the Awabakal service area.

Further measurable outcomes will be continuously measured over the next 12 - 24 months to see the impact of the campaign at a macro level.

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The tone needed to feel empowering – coming from a place of strength – and the headlines were written in consultation with Aboriginal people from Awabakal.
Mike PrestonHeadjam Executive Creative Director
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An individual, hand-drawn typographic treatment was created for each execution to reinforce these are genuine experiences of real people going through their quitting journey.
Jay YoungHeadjam Senior Designer
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We chose outdoor media locations with the capacity for more than 18 million impressions in areas with a high percentage of the target demographic to meet the government set KPIs.
Leanne HoganHeadjam Head of Client Service
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