The new initiative from Arizona Smokers’ Helpline
and RIESTER follows four tobacco users for 30 days as they try to kick the

LOS ANGELES—Tobacco addiction is notoriously
difficult to kick.  Just how difficult,
and the impact quitting has on individual lives, is the subject of Project
Quit, a newly-launched public-service initiative developed by RIESTER for the
Arizona Smokers’ Helpline.
RIESTER asked Los Angeles production company Original and director Geoffrey Madeja
to follow four people who have taken a vow to quit tobacco. Through a mix of
slice-of-life scenes and interviews, the four tobacco users, along with their
friends and loved ones, talk about the difficulty of quitting, how they got
started with tobacco, the effects it has had on their relationships, and how
quitting is complicated by other factors including health problems, employment
and money issues. What emerges are complex stories of struggle, determination
and hope.

RIESTER Senior Content Producer Robert Farthing says the
agency was looking for a new way to show the broader impact of tobacco and the
multiple challenges faced by people trying to quit. “There were a lot of
campaigns about quitting, but none showed what it’s like to quit on a day to
day, hour to hour, moment to moment basis,” he said. “Although we hoped that
the participants would succeed, we were determined to show the true outcomes,
whatever they happened to be. We wanted to tell the real stories.”

Original and Madeja have a lot of experience in telling real
stories. Madeja has directed multiple one- and two-hour specials for The
History Channel, as well as numerous reality-based television commercials,
including an earlier campaign for RIESTER and Arizona Smokers’ Helpline. For
this project, Madeja says, he felt a special responsibility to tell the stories
faithfully and honestly. “We were let into the lives of real people,” he
explained. “They opened the door to everything that they did, all the time, for
30 days.”
Prior to the shoot, Madeja conducted lengthy interviews with
the subjects and their family members to familiarize himself with their
backgrounds and personalities. He then established a routine for the 30 days of
production that included regular trips to the subjects’ homes in order to
record them as they went about their daily lives. Additionally, Madeja
conducted weekly interviews with the subjects via Skype, and provided each
participant with a digital camera which they used to record daily journals. All
of these elements were used to complete the final vision of the project.
That structure was important to developing cohesive
narratives. “It gave us pieces to build stories,” Madeja explained. “The next
time we returned with the crew we had relevant things to film. That made it
very powerful. We weren’t ‘creating’ stories; we were tapping into what was
going on and bringing the reality of those stories to life.”
The realism of stories makes them impactful to viewers.
“These stories can make it easier for people who are trying to quit, because
they can see other people who’ve been through it,” Madeja said. “They may have
less trepidation toward starting the process.”
Original teamed with Copper Post, a Phoenix-based post
facility for editorial and finishing. Owner and editor Rob Beadle and his team
combed through hours of source material originating from a variety of camera
formats to construct a series of webisodes and commercials that could both
stand on their own and tell a combined story. “Rob and his crew did an
outstanding job of storytelling, helping to capture the vision of Geoffrey and
the RIESTER team,” Original executive producer Joe Piccirillo observed. “The
pieces are artfully crafted, but feel raw, fluid and real.”
The key to the success of the campaign, according to
RIESTER’s Robert Farthing was the rapport that developed between Madeja and his
subjects. “Geoffrey is just awesome with people,” Farthing said. ‘When you are
exploring people’s vulnerabilities, trust is key, and he was so good at
developing trust.”
The entire Project Quick series can be viewed  here.
Title:               Project Quit
Client:            Arizona Smokers’ Helpline
Agency:          Riester, Phoenix. Tom Ortega,
Executive Creative Director/Partner; Ben Dverin, Associate Creative Director;
Mark TrueBlood, Copywriter; Samara Byrne, Content Producer
Production:    Original, Los  Angeles. Joe Piccirillo, Executive Producer;
Geoffrey Madeja, Director; Christine De Luca, Producer
Post:               Copper Post, Phoenix. Rob Beadle, Editor;
LeeAnn Cone, Editor; Niki Kizer,colorist; Lisa Poje, Motion Graphics; Chaz
Smith, Post Producer
About Original
Original is led by
executive producers Bruce Mellon, Joe Piccirillo and Marc Lasko.  For more information, call (310) 445-9000, or
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