I have never smoked cigarettes and never will, so I’ve never needed convincing to not smoke; however, if I did, truth would certainly have convinced me to quit by now. In my opinion, this anti-smoking campaign is extremely effective from an advertising and marketing standpoint.
“truth” is a national anti-tobacco campaign by the Truth Initiative (formerly known as American Legacy Foundation), working towards ending smoking among youth. They’ve been at it since 1999 and they’ve truly adapted with the changing technology and culture over the years. truth commercials have been on air throughout much of my life and I’ve been always been impressed with them all. The most memorable for me was the “Singing Cowboy (2007),” that scarred just about every kid in America at the time. This was obviously when they were still going for the shock and awe effect; it worked.
Today, the organization has evolved to trying to connect with social issues and social trends. The Truth Initiative uses all forms of media outlets and social media platforms to reach today’s teens, Gen Z. The commercial that sparked my interest again to encourage this post is their (relatively) new campaign, #StopProfiling, from ad agency, 72andSunny. I think this ad effectively connects with current social issues in the country, connects it with their cause and connects it to today’s youth. This can be a somewhat tricky sector to break into, as we saw with the Kendall Jenner/Pepsi disaster, but in my opinion, they did it. It works because: 1) it calls out huge corporations for taking advantage of the less fortunate and 2) it’s supported by facts. According to the National Cancer Institute, from 1970 to 2005, there was a major shift in advertising spending from measured media (TV, radio, magazines and billboards) to promotional activities (price discounts). This was a shift from about 18% on promotional activities to almost 100%. This doesn’t look good for “Big Tobacco” when they have been long known for keeping prices low for the lower classes. This particular campaign is causing quite a stir; this tweet gained significantly more engagement than usual, when their average tweet has about 20 retweets and 50 favorites.
A few more campaigns that I thought were effective in connecting with social issues and social trends are:
Hitting us where it really hurts (our wallets)
Our generation’s obsession with our pets, memes and GIFs
Our love of going green
Nice job, Truth Initiative. This millennial doesn’t really need to be convinced not to smoke, but I do appreciate your marketing strategy and trying to make America a little bit healthier.