Truth Initiative-Inspiring Tobacco-Free Lives

Shanel Atwood

Truth Initiative-Inspiring Tobacco-Free Lives
Truth Initiative is devoted to achieving a culture where all youth and young adults refuse tobacco.  Truth is the longest running and most successful national tobacco prevention campaign for youth and young adults.  Developed from extensive research, Truth is a brand with which youth and young adults can affiliate instead of tobacco brands.  It goes toe-to-toe with an industry that spends more than $9 billion each year to market tobacco products in the U.S.  Over the course of the campaign starting in 2000, teen smoking rates have dropped from 23 percent to 8 percent.  Truth produces advertisements, delivers online engagement opportunities and creates in-person experiences that connect Truth with youth and young adults.  Goal: Inspire youth and young adults to use their creativity and social influence to spread the truth about tobacco and make this the generation that ends tobacco use.  Launched in 2014, Truth’s most current campaign is titled Finish It.  This campaign rallies a volunteer army of youth and young adults to use their influence and creativity to de-normalize smoking among their peers.  It bonds with today’s youth and culture selecting into what’s popular, such as selfies and dating apps, and works with musicians, celebrities and online influencers to bring serious messages to light with humor and boldness.  Truth campaigns incorporate paid, owned and earned media.  For example, owned media is represented through their own website, products such as shirts, hats, and bandannas and video campaigns which later went viral making it earned media as well.  Their paid media includes collaborating with tobacco prevention and cessation campaigns led by the states and by federal agencies like the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and Centers for Disease Control and Awareness.  And finally, their owned media includes the views on all their video campaigns and talk on social media sites such as twitter by using the #FinishIT hashtag on their account.

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