On an Ambition Mission

The second stop on our multi-intervention social marketing campaign journey, supported by The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, is Uganda. Although cigarette smoking rates amongst teens have been consistently decreasing, we are now seeing a dramatic rise in the use of other tobacco products – smokeless tobacco and shisha in particular – across the continent. In Uganda the rise is significant among both teenage boys and girls, with teen consumption rates of all forms of tobacco more than doubling adult rates. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has challenged us to expand our behaviour change strategy to this market.

In December 2014 we launched our brand, Ambition Mission. Ambition Mission is all about inspiring Ugandan youths to dare to dream and encourages them to stay clear of tobacco as a way of showing they are serious about their future. Ambition Mission lives in the world of Ugandan teens: these teens are hugely ambitious and entrepreneurial and have a burning desire to succeed. These teens are also anxious not to get blown off their path to success and start down the wrong track.

Three months in and Ambition Mission counts four of Uganda’s hottest celebrities amongst its Ambassadors. We have created a weekly radio show that airs on five of the country’s national radio stations and a monthly TV programme that reaches 1-2 million viewers. Ambition Mission’s Facebook page has over 14,000 likes and receives hundreds of new comments each week from teens telling us how Ambition Mission is inspiring them to stay focused on their ambitions and say ‘no’ to tobacco.