It takes one to stop one

Insight • By JOSH DIXON • 29 June 2016

Method Planners explore your audiences' key needs by going on their journey with them. Josh explores giving up his vice for a client.


In the wise words of Bill Bernbach: a principle isn’t a principle until it costs.

He didn’t just mean money – principles can cost you blood, sweat and tears. So if your principle is to find real strategic insight, then maybe the way of a Method Planner™  is for you.

Once you’ve done your due diligence desk research it’s time to log off Mintel, put down the Delloite report and step into your customer’s shoes. That’s what Method Planning is all about.

I landed the opportunity to pitch for the development of a well-known nicotine replacement app. I didn’t get chosen for talent (sad face), nor because I’m hard working.

I landed it because I was the planner that smoked.

So I had to stop. And stop during pitch week! Any smoker will understand the added impending doom this creates.

We also asked other smokers at the agency to quit using different nicotine substitutes. They recorded their journeys too, giving us a broader view of how to develop an app that would help them stay off the fags for good.

I went cold turkey. Something over 70% of people attempt… and fail.

I recorded my journey through the @methodplanner Twitter account to make sure every thought, feeling and action was captured and published for me to present back to the client for the pitch.

I woke up as if it was any other day. 7am, nice and early (in my books). And immediately wanted to jump back into bed when I realised I couldn’t kick-start my day with a shot of nicotine.

Throughout the day the competitor app I’d downloaded would congratulate me for not smoking. That’s the fist bit of actionable knowledge:

No smoker needs telling they haven’t smoked.

Especially on the first day, even the first three! Trust me, they know!

After several days it became clear to me. The quitting journey is full of very personal moments. That particular time and place of day for you.

So why aren’t any applications designed to help you through these moments, instead of the copy-cat measuring facilities that ultimately don’t help?

So that was how I briefed the creative.

And the creative team at PSONA came back with a technology-focused execution. It allowed you to log these personal moments in geo-time.

So when you’re walking under that bridge on the way home, your app would distract you from needing a cigarette. Or it would just remind you to top up whatever nicotine replacement therapy you’re using – whether that’s a spray, patches or your e-cig.

So in simple words, Method Planning gives you a real understanding of what a customer goes through.

Without this you’ll struggle to find inspirational insight to carry through to a creative execution.

And in case you’re wondering, I haven’t smoked since.

See what else we’re up to by following @methodplanner on Twitter.