POST A: Designing for Culture Jamming, Convenience and Social Change

Every year more than 225700 people in Indonesia are killed by tobacco-caused diseases and around 148705 tonnes of butts and packs wind up as toxic trash (Tobacco Atlas 2019). Despite this statistic, Big Tobacco is still an empire in Indonesia and it’s because of the way culture jamming and convenience have been designed around smoking. This can be compared to the red meat industry in Australia in the table below:

Tobacco in Indonesia
Red Meat in Australia
Health Issues
Every year more than 225700 people in Indonesia are killed by tobacco-caused diseases.
More than half the Australian population is overweight or obese and diet-related illnesses such as some cancers, type-2 diabetes, heart disease and stroke are amongst our biggest killers (Sustainable Table n.d.) Australian consumers are eating more than four times the amount of beef and veal and six times the amount of sheep and mutton when compared to global consumption averages (Ernst & Young 2017).
Environmental Issue
148705 tonnes of butts and packs wind up as toxic trash (Tobacco Atlas 2019).
Refer to Figure 1: Environmental Inputs and Outputs of Our Food System
Ergonomically, the cigarette packaging has a compact design which allows the smoker to store it in their pocket easily. The lid is also reusable and due to policy, the warning label only covers 40% of the box (Tobacco Control Laws 2019). Cigarettes are very easily accessible and most shop owners ignore the under 18 rule because punishments aren’t enforced which makes cigarettes a convenient product (2019, pers. comm., 20 Jan).
Meat companies advertise convenience and ease along with catchy slogans like ‘Put Some Pork on Your Fork’, ‘You’ll Never Lamb Alone’ and ‘Australia Beef the Greatest’ (Meat and Livestock Australia 2019). The design of ad (figure 2), makes meat seem like it is easy and quick to cook but also is an example of food porn which can induce salivation, not to mention the release of digestive juices as the gut prepares for what is about to come (The Guardian 2017).
Society and Culture
Socially, as discussed in my blog Smoke, Eat, Drink, Repeat, the design of advertisements, slogans and campaigns have created a culture where smoking it the norm and men feel and identify themselves as strong and masculine when they smoke.
Like smoking, the culture around eating red meat is the real issue. Historically, meat has always been associated with men. In evolutionary times and in many hunter-gatherer societies, it’s a male’s responsibility to hunt for food. In the West, it’s often considered to be a ‘man’s job’ to cook a barbecue (Noone 2018).


Inputs and Outputs.png
Figure 1: (Environmental Inputs and Outputs of Our Food System n.d.)

Figure 2: (Meat and Livestock Australia 2018)

Thus, both smoking and eating meat are behaviours majorly influenced by cultural norms and associations with masculinity, brought about through marketing schemes and campaigns.

So with an issue so complex, how can designers be an ethical influence and an agent for change through design activism? In terms of working with other stakeholders, there is a hierarchy when it comes to the involvement of the designer (Paton & Dorst 2010). The most ideal way a designer can contribute is if they take on the ‘collaborator’ role (figure 3) at the beginning stages. This is because the designer has the most involvement and therefore a thorough understanding of the design problem, journey and solution and then may result in a greater outcome.

Figure 3: (Briefing Modes 2010)

The aim of reframing during briefing is so that both parties negotiate a mutually apprehended frame that is actionable. This may involve initial meetings, research and identifying what the client actually wants rather than what they say or think they want. There are strategies that help the designer find this. This includes asking questions involving soft skills and identifying specifics. Dialogue is essential in opening up clients’ perspectives and introducing them to ideas that weren’t considered before (Paton 2010). This can help remove the barriers (figure 4). Other barriers may include different ideas about the budget, time restrictions and/or extent of knowledge about the subject.

Figure 3: (Barriers and Enablers during Briefing 2010)

In terms of designing for social change, by identifying the target behaviours, designers can then extract the attitudes behind them and then the values that influence those attitudes. Effective designers will target values that people are more willing to respond to, based on their intrinsic, benevolence, universalism and self-directed values within their culture (Schwartz 2012). Different people have different values, thus, may be triggered by only a specific designs. For example, in Indonesia, tobacco health warnings will not be effective on people that believe tobacco makes you a strong man. However, if a husband valued honouring his wife and she told him not to smoke, then this may be a more effective way of designing for behaviour change. If one valued convienience over environmental impacts, then a campaign about global warming won’t stop that person from reducing their meat intake. Thus, it’s important to conduct extensive primary and secondary research in order to find the target behaviours, attitudes and values.

Overall, it’s the designers choice whether or not to be involved in a project. They can decide whether their morals line up with the ethical impacts. When it come to tackling culture jamming, as evident with Big Tobacco and the Red Meat Industry, designers must collaborate with partner stakeholders, research and continue to iterate throughout, in order to be an effective agent for change through design activism.



Ernst & Young 2017, State of the Industry Report: The Australian Red Meat and Livestock Industry, Meat and Livestock Australia, Sydney, viewed 1 February 2019, <>.
Meat and Live Stock Australia 2019, Beef Campaigns, viewed 1 February 2019, <>.
Noone, Y. 2018, What your meat-eating habits say about your desired social class, SBS, viewed 1 February 2019, <>.
Paton & Dorst 2010, Briefing and Reframing, University of Technology Sydney, Sydney, viewed 1 February 2019, <>.
Schwartz, H. 2012, ‘An Overview of the Schwartz Theory of Basic Values’, Online Readings in Psychology and Culture, viewed 1 February 2019, <;.
Sustainable Table n.d., Meat the Issues – Enviro + Health Impacts of Our Food System, Clifton Hill, viewed 1 February 2019 <.>.
The Guardian 2017, From Instagram to TV ads, what’s the science behind food porn?, viewed 1 February 2019, <>.
Tobacco Atlas 2019, Indonesia, American Cancer Society, Inc. & Vital Strategies, viewed 1 February 2019, <>.
Tobacco Control Laws 2019, Introduction, Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, Washington DC, viewed 1 February 2019, <>.

POST C: Assiz from Ambon

Interviewer: Madison Chan
Interviewee: Assiz Mahu

Time: 40min
20 Jan 2019

The aim of the task was to get insight into the daily life of an Ambonese resident and their perspective on tobacco. Interviewing as a research design method was chosen not only because it enables us to inquire about one’s social world, but is actually a significant constituent of the kind of society one lives in (Brooks & Horrocks & King 2019).

Assiz Mahu is a 22-year-old male who was born and raised in Ambon, Indonesia. As neutrality is the byword of interviews (Gubrium & Holstein 2001), I lead with the unbiased and open-ended question,

‘What are your thoughts on smoking?’

Mahu’s immediate response was,

‘I do not smoke…it is bad for you and not good for your body.’

How did he come to this confident conclusion? Not only did Mahu witness anti-tobacco campaigns on the street but he also conducted his own independent research on YouTube. I found it interesting that when I mentioned emphysema and COPDs, he was not aware of these terms. The only impacts of smoking Mahu knew about was that it made you ‘sick’ and ‘cough a lot’. However, despite not knowing this terminology, it seemed Mahu’s association of tobacco with ‘being sick’ was powerful enough for him to not risk even trying a cigarette.

It is suggested, that people are motivated to form accurate perceptions of reality and react accordingly – to comply and conform – in order to develop and preserve meaningful social relationships, and to maintain a favourable self-concept (Cialdini & Goldstein 2004). Mahu’s friends have all complied to smoking because they believe it makes them strong. They have called Mahu a ‘sissy’ and ‘not a man’ for not smoking but he did not care because he understood the impacts. It was admirable that Mahu valued his health over social conformity considering Ambon was largely based on community and unity.

As the respondent is someone who can provide detailed descriptions of his or her thoughts, feelings, and activities (Gubrium & Holstein 2001), I was intrigued about Mahu’s personal experiences with tobacco. It was clear smoking was a sign of masculinity. His dad was a former smoker, his two older brothers smoked and so did his male friends. Yet, when I asked ‘why is this?’, Mahu struggled to go beyond the reasoning of ‘it’s our culture…it’s habit…you’re a bad and shameful woman if you do…why?…just because,’ which supports my argument of smoking as an unquestionable and normal behaviour in my previous blog Smoke, Eat, Drink, Repeat.

Although Mahu was aware of smoking impacts, he has accepted it as a norm. The following stories were unfamiliar and shocking to me, but for Mahu, this was his everyday life. Mahu’s job was security in the women’s prison Lapas Perempuan Kelas III, and claimed that there was ‘rarely a case of tobacco’. The exception: when prisoners had a headache or blocked sinuses, the doctor would prescribe them with one cigarette a day for relief. At the high school that Mahu attended, there was a no smoking policy. Students would hide behind the walls and if they were caught, the punishment from the teachers involved smoking five cigarettes at the same time. Mahu admitted, ‘sometimes it worked and sometimes it didn’t.’

Madison Chan (right), Assix Mahu (left) (Mahu 2019)




Brooks, J. & Horrocks, C. & King, N. 2019, Interviews in Quality Research, SAGE Publications, London.

Cialdini, J. & Goldstein, N. 2004, ‘Social Influence: Compliance and Conformity’, Annual Review of Psychology, vol. 55, no. 1, pp. 591-621.

Gubrium, J. & Holstein, J. 2001, The Handbook of Interview Research, SAGE Publications, London.

Mahu, A. 2019, Photograph, Ambon.

POST D: Smoke, Eat, Drink, Repeat

Walking along the streets of Ambon, it appears one aspect of Tobacco culture is its association with positive and pleasurable experiences. This ethnographic study was effective because it encourages participation by the researcher, getting involved, seeing what life is like from the point of view of the subject (Coyne 2006).

Locally, I observed (as recorded in ‘Map My Walk Ambon 2019’ below), mostly sedentary smokers – groups of men sitting in alleyways, shopkeepers minding their market stores and drivers both old and young. They appeared to be enjoying it. Perhaps because deep breathing, even when taking in cigarette smoke, can be physiologically relaxing (as is sitting back, socialising, or having a warm drink). These pleasant things get strongly associated with the effect of the cigarette itself (Quit Tasmania 2013).


map my walk 1
(Map My Walk Ambon 2019)
(Men Smoking 2019)
(Men Smoking 2 2019)

This could also be said for the association of one’s identity with smoking. The cigarette is a symbol of manhood and conveys messages such as, in the words of the tobacco company Philip Morris, “I am no longer my mother’s child,” and “I am tough” (Jarvis 2004). There was not one street I walked down that I did not see a pro-tobacco advertisement using themes that are likely to be very attractive to young people, such as humour, adventure, bravery and success. (Tjandra 2018). It’s interesting to note that the dominant banner colours, red and white, are the colours of the Indonesian flag. They are considered the sacred colours of the nation as they represent the sacrifice and the struggle of the people striving toward their independence. (Asimonoff 2016). Simply through colour, smoking is now associated with freedom and courage which the people of Ambon could value.

(Young Man Smoking 2019)
(Go Ahead Banner 2019)
(Pro We Are Stronger Poster 2019)
(Pro Never Quit Banner 2019)
(Pro We Are Stronger Banner 2019)

Nationally, the sponsoring and social marketing of music festivals by tobacco companies targets young people to associate smoking with music, creativity, and self-expression. Even though they are 18+ events, Instagram eliminates the boundary exposing the sponsorship to all social media users worldwide. Philip Morris International created an online social networking community for A brand enthusiasts and future customers. At registrants can click on links and find activities where they can learn, meet, create and sell creative products and get involved in projects or challenges (Astuti & Freeman 2018).

It’s evident that Tobacco companies have successfully carried out Craig Lefebvre’s marketing model of scope – co‐creation, conversations, communities and markets; design – honouring people, radiating value, engaging service and enhancing experiences; and value space – dignity, hope, love and trust (Lefebvre 2013), which has resulted in a tobacco empire. In fact, on a global scale, Indonesia is known as the ‘tobacco’s industry Disneyland’ and is the only Asian country that has not signed the ratified the World Health Organization’s Framework Convention of Tobacco Control (FCTC) (Tjandra 2018).

Strategically, tobacco companies have embedded smoking culture so deeply into society that it has rewired people’s brains to think positively about it and to not even question it. It’s a social norm.




Asimonoff 2016, Colours in Indonesia, Transparent Language, weblog, New Hampshire, viewed 17 January 2019, <>.

Astuti, P. & Freeman, B. 2018, Protecting young Indonesian hearts from tobacco, The Conversation, viewed 17 January 2019, <>.

Astuti, P. & Freeman, B. 2018, Tobacco company in Indonesia skirts regulation, uses music concerts and social media for marketing, The Conversation, 17 January 2019, <>.

Chan, M. 2019, Go Ahead Banner, photograph, Ambon, Indonesia.

Chan, M. 2019, Map My Walk Ambon, Sketch, Ambon, Indonesia.

Chan, M. 2019, Men Smoking, photograph, Ambon, Indonesia.

Chan, M. 2019, Men Smoking 2, photograph, Ambon, Indonesia.

Chan, M. 2019, Pro Never Quit Banner, photograph, Ambon, Indonesia.

Chan, M. 2019, Pro We Are Stronger Banner, photograph, Ambon, Indonesia.

Chan, M. 2019, Pro We Are Stronger Poster, photograph, Ambon, Indonesia.

Coyne, R. 2006, Creative practice and design-led research, Research Methods, viewed 17 January 2019,<>.

Jarvis, M. 2004, ‘Why people smoke’, The British Medical Journal, vol 328, viewed 17 January 2019, <>.

Lefebvre, C. 2012, ‘Transformative social marketing: co‐creating the social marketing discipline and brand’, Journal of Social Marketing, vol. 2 , no. 2, viewed 17 January <>.

Tjandra, N. 2018, ‘Disneyland for Big Tobacco’: how Indonesia’s lax smoking laws are helping next generation to get hooked, The Conversation, viewed 17 January 2019, <>.

Quitline. 2013, Stress and Smoking, Quit Tasmania, viewed 17 January 2019, <>.




POST B: Stop Before You Start

Stop Before You Start (SBYS) is a non-for profit campaign established by the Health Promotion Agency (HPA), based in New Zealand. Striving towards a smoke-free country by 2025, this campaign targets 17-20 year-olds asking them to ‘think about their relationship with tobacco’ (Health Promotion Agency n.d., para 1), focusing particularly on a ‘social smoking’ setting.

Strategically, one of the main ways SBYS is promoted is through the social media platforms Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat. This is effective because it targets the chosen age group and allows not only New Zealand residents to have access, but also those in other countries. Facebook is almost ubiquitous in popular culture and plays a powerful adjunct role in mass media campaigns. It represents an opportunity for engagement with more than 10 million Facebook users in Australia and almost 50% penetration (Cotter & Durkin 2011).

In all campaign channels  – TV, social media and online – a person is featured in a cigarette suit interacting with another person. This concept successfully removes stigmatization of smokers themselves as ‘bad’ people and suggests that rather smoking is a bad relationship with a cigarette. This is important because the greater perceived smoking-related stigma is associated with shame, guilt, increased likelihood of hiding smoking status with health care providers, greater depression and anxiety (Steinberg 2018).

However, this is a challenge as this campaign is about stopping people before they start. Since smoker-related stigma may benefit by dissuading people from taking up smoking to begin with (Stuber & Galea & Link), SBYA promotes negative impacts of smoking through videos, posts, and memes like the ones below.

(Stop Before You Start 2017)
(Stop Before You Start 2018)
(Stop Before You Start 2018)
(Stop Before You Start 2017)


stop before youu start 1
(Stop Before You Start 2018)

Although these posts are very ‘relatable’ and ‘funny’, my concern is:

What effect does promoting a serious issue in a humorous way have on people?

In terms of comments, it seems people ‘tag’ their friends in posts which could be naming and shaming or showing them a relatable scenario. However, since the posts are humorous, there is the potential for the smoker to not take it seriously and instead have a good laugh because it is relatable. A social smoker is already not taking smoking as a serious issue and these posts below keep it light-hearted.

(Stop Before You Start 2018)
(Stop Before You Start 2018)

The posts are definitely engaging and eye-catching but the impact of the posts need to be reviewed. I would say the impact is how you would measure the success of this campaign. Statistically, SBYS has 4671 followers on Facebook since 2014 and 390 followers on Instagram. This campaign has great potential because of its strong focus on social smokers and will continue to grow by 2025. If the humour is well considered and constructed, then this take on anti-smoking could have a great impact in the long run.



Cotter, T. & Durkin, S. 2011, ‘14.4 Examining the effectiveness of public education campaigns’, in M.M. Scollo & M.H. Winstanley (eds), Tobacco in Australia: Facts and issues, Cancer Council Victoria, Melbourne, viewed 11 January 2019, <>.

Health Promotion Agency 2019, Stop Before You Start, New Zealand, 11 Jan 2019, <>.

Steinberg, M. 2017, ‘Harms and Benefits of Stigmatizing Smoking’, Nicotine & Tobacco Research, vol. 20, no. 3,  viewed 11 January 2019, <>.

Stop Before You Start 2018, ‘A couple of puffs and […]’, Facebook post, 26 November, viewed 11 January 2019, <>.

Stop Before You Start 2018, ‘When your mate tries to[…]’, Facebook post, 14 November, viewed 11 January 2019, <>.

Stop Before You Start 2018, ‘Mean night last night bro[…]’, Facebook post, 10 November, viewed 11 January 2019, <>.

Stop Before You Start 2018, ‘Saturday night calls to social[…]’, Instagram post, 6 November, viewed 11 January 2019, <>.

Stop Before You Start 2018, ‘You’re sure it’s just social?’, Facebook post, 30 October, viewed 11 January 2019, <>.

Stop Before You Start 2017, ‘Mean night last night bro[…]’, Instagram post, 10 November, viewed 11 January 2019, <>.

Stop Before You Start 2017, ‘When your mate goes out[…]’, Instagram post, 21 April, viewed 11 January 2019, <>.

Stuber, J. & Galea, S. & Link, B. 2008, ‘Smoking and the emergence of a stigmatized social status’, Social Science Medical, vol. 67, no. 3, viewed 11 January 2019, < >.