ALF uses choice words to tell kids the 'truth' about smoking

To counter cigarette ads, ALF needed an effort of its own. But lacking Big Tobacco's deep pockets, the foundation also needed a cost-effective way to seize the attention of young adults who are the tacit audience for those ads.

To counter cigarette ads, ALF needed an effort of its own. But lacking Big Tobacco's deep pockets, the foundation also needed a cost-effective way to seize the attention of young adults who are the tacit audience for those ads.

The solution: an ad and PR push - using the 6-year-old "Truth" campaign aimed at 12- to 17-year-olds - that shows GenY types reacting to the language and marketing tactics tobacco companies use to attract and keep teens as smokers, and soften the harsh realities of smoking.

The new effort, "truth documentary," is geared toward the "edgiest teens that are inclined to smoke," says Joseph Martyak, EVP of marcomms and public policy for the ALF.

Idea: The documentary-style ads feature one correspondent and a camera crew "investigating the absurdity behind some ideas of Big Tobacco," by telling people how cigarette giants obscure the true facts behind products. The street-savvy effort uses such made-up words as "Whudafxup?" to express the confusion and frustration that teens express with Big Tobacco's messages.

Tools: Besides national TV ads, a road show features "the truth van" making 75 US stops as it tours with the Vans Warped Tour, the And1MixTape Tour, and the CosmoGirl Beach House Tour. Besides peer-to-peer counseling, the teams accompanying the van will hand out free "truth" gear to promote the effort. ALF expects the van element of the push to reach more than 800,000 kids.

Measurement: ALF will be monitoring traffic to the campaign Web site, www.whudafxup.com, where the documentary will be supported. It has also done focus groups prior to launch to measure the effort's effectiveness, and plans more for the future.

Company: American Legacy Foundation (ALF)
Campaign: "Truth documentary"
PR Team: The ad*itive (Philadelphia)
Other marketing: Four 30- and 60- second ad spots
Launching: May 22, 2006
Budget: undisclosed

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