Shisha Ad Campaign – Meeting One

Production Meeting One

The first production meeting for me, went really well. At first it was quite hard to communicate as there was initially a few disagreements. We managed to meet up after a quick tutorial and get straight into it. We started by looking at the research we had collected and picked out two subjects and three points of interest in each of the subjects. We decided that law and medical risk was probably the most effective theme to base our production on, in terms of consumer reaction.


– Children as young as thirteen are being groomed in Shisha bars by paedophiles and sex offenders.

– Shisha smoking has the same law’s as cigarettes, in terms of smoking in a public place.

– Breaking these laws could land the offender a fine up to £25,000.


– One Shisha session is equivalent to smoking between a hundred and two hundred cigarettes.

– Shisha contains more toxins than cigarettes that are more potent.

– The water does not filter out the harmful toxins.

I also took a chance to look at the biased information I had found from scientists and doctors with a Middle-Eastern background. As we now know, Shisha was developed in the Middle-East over six hundred years ago and is still very popular within Middle-Eastern cultures. In the UK, 70% of Shisha smokers come from an ethnic background predominantly from Central Asia. The W.H.O (The World Health Organisation) conclusively presented evidence and stated that Shisha is harmful to your health and more harmful than smoking cigarettes. However, scientists and doctors from a Central Asian Background have reported these findings to be false and that Shisha is perfectly safe.

After looking at all the information and research we had gathered, we decided as a production team to look into the health issues. We discussed the three points of health issues quite thoroughly  and decided to base the documentary around the fact that Shisha is more harmful than cigarettes. For myself, this was a real starting point and a great place to start developing ideas and a theme to move forward.

The first idea that was put forward was an idea I had a few days before the meeting. Unfortunately, my idea isn’t feasible due to the knowledge the production team has in terms of software. The idea was to create the advert based around the health issues of smoking Shisha. The final edit would be;


          MEDIUM SHOT of a social meeting at a shisha bar. Camera focus’ on one character as he inhales smoke from the hookah.

VIRTUAL CAMERA PANS and follows the smoke into the mouth. The smoke travels down the esophagus and into the lungs decaying the colour from pink to black.

VIRTUAL CAMERA follows the smoke out of the lungs and mouth.


LONG SHOT of character lying on a table inside a morgue. Smoke coming out of characters mouth.


TEXT: One session of shisha can be as fatal as smoking 100 cigarettes.


(A very rushed and simple screenplay)

In theory, the idea is quite simple but technically it would be quite difficult to use track motion and 3D modeling to create the virtual side of the production, making it infeasible. I was however, able to pitch it as an example and it seemed to help the production team understand what kind of aims we needed to set.

An idea then came from another student who pitched the idea of a visual representation of shisha being a deceitful alternative to smoking cigarettes. The pitch was a couple of friends were drinking at a club when a few people (dressed as giant cigarettes) started to threaten the boys as they stepped outside for air. Before long a bigger guy turns up dressed as a hookah, sticks up for the boys and scares away the cigarettes. Then when the cigarettes have left, the hookah beats the friends and leaves them on the floor.

It was an okay idea, but the problem I personally had was the costumes and the cliché of a group of friends going to a club. After a few minutes discussing this idea further, someone suggested using morph suits or even t-shirts with the words ‘cigarette’ and ‘hookah’ printed on them. It was an interesting progression, but I still felt the idea was a bit too cliché.

I found it quite difficult to manage the production team as there was instantly some clashes between production ideas. Small arguments broke out and it wasn’t easy to find solid ground. When people eventually started to listen to each other, someone remembered the Cannes Lion Award-Winning “Three Little Pigs advert” which began to spark inspiration for ideas. The advertisement begins with the final of the three pigs being arrested for the murder of ‘The Big Bad Wolf.’ It then takes you to social media debates between those for the arrest of the pigs and those against it. The three pigs had murdered the wolf for blowing down their houses, but later in the advert, we find that the wolf couldn’t have blown down the houses due to asthma. The rest of the advert is the public really turning on the pigs and eventually it all becomes a huge government conspiracy. To sum up the advert, it’s really advertising the level of journalism and stories The Guardian has to offer.


This video really sparked inspiration within the production team. People then started talking about how they could incorporate fairy tales or a story that already exists within the theme of the shisha ad. One member of the production team mentioned the Caterpillar from Lewis Carol’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. In the story the strange Caterpillar smokes a lot of shisha from a hookah. This sparked a lot of ideas from everyone. The main idea was to have Alice switch between reality and wonderland. With a twisted and darker theme to give the effect of a decayed and defective world brought on by the influence of smoking Shisha. We decided to go with Alice from the very famous Carol Lewis novel and her psychotic adventure in Wonderland. Alice will meet Tweedle Dumb and Tweedle Dee who will get the better of Alice’s well known curiosity as they lead her to the caterpillar. The caterpillar will offer her Shisha and her whole reality is shifted by learning the long term effects of smoking Hookah the hard way.

 We will use a range of shots from long to extreme close ups. This will help capture the world we will create and Alice’s experience within this world. By ‘world’ I mean a grotty back ally and a wooded area. The grotty back ally will represent the reality of smoking Shisha and the medical risks that come with it. The ally will be grayscaled in edit and Alice will stay in colour. Alice staying in colour and her transition to her ‘wonderland’ (wooded area) represents her misconception on smoking Shisha. The character feels as though it’s okay and she is happy to smoke it as there are no long term risks, but the reality is that it is harmful and it can kill her. Towards the end of the advertisement she will be grayscaled as she has learned the hard way about the risks.
As it is a campaign, there was talk about incorporating a hash-tag with a slogan. Personally, I hate hash-tags but we cannot ignore the fact that they are huge in terms of social media. So, one of the team members came up with an incredible slogan for the campaign and will be used at the end of the advertisement.
“If you think Shisha is safer than cigarettes, you’re in Wonderland.”

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