WASHINGTON: The American Legacy Foundation today will launch the next phase of its ongoing Truth campaign against youth smoking: Truth Found.
In print and broadcast ads as well as virally on the web, teens will be confronted with the message that tobacco companies deceive them.
This is the first evolution of the five-year-old outreach effort since an August court ruling allowed the campaign to proceed because it does not personally attack tobacco companies or their employees.
Plaintiff Lorillard Tobacco Company is expected to appeal the verdict.
One spot, for instance, questions the altruism of a tobacco company that spends $21 million publicizing a $125,000 charitable donation.
"The greater message here is: 'Here's what's going on. Here's how you're being manipulated,'" explained Joe Martyak, EVP for marketing, communications, and public policy at the American Legacy Foundation. "Teens are independent, smart, and rebellious. [Simply] telling teens 'don't smoke' encourages them to smoke."
Martyak noted that another spot uses an "iconic orange arrow" that hovers over the heads of unsuspecting people, branding them as "passive aggressive" or "emotionally insecure." The terms are taken from the tobacco industry's own files to pinpoint potential customers.
"The message itself stays the same, [but] how we get it across is a little different," he said. "It really does continue to be edgy, out there, and vibrant."
The message will also be carried on campaign website www.thetruth.com.
The in-house PR team at the American Legacy Foundation is leading the media relations effort. They are currently sending e-cards to reporters to spark their interest in the campaign.
"I can guarantee you they haven't seen an e-card like this," Martyak said.
The group is also working with PR agency The Ad*itive on the effort.
Truth Found represents the "very logical" progression of the Seek Truth campaign, which encourages teens to "find facts" about the tobacco industry, Martyak noted.
This phase aims to provide some of those answers.
Martyak declined to disclose the campaign's budget, describing it only as a "David versus Goliath" situation given the $15 billion spent annually by the tobacco industry to sell products.
A recent study in the American Journal of Public Health found that, in 2002, 300,000 teens opted against smoking because of the Truth campaign.
"Our brand is out there, well-known, and as popular as the tobacco industry's," Martyak said.