Taking Truth Where The Teens (Supposedly) Are

Brandweek looks at the anti-smoking forces move into the social media space.

The American Legacy Foundation’s national smoking prevention campaign aimed at youth tackles social networking Web sites with the latest phase of the “Infect truth” campaign.
Starting this week, materials like truth wallpaper, branded bumper stickers and even ads that can be affixed onto the backs of cockroaches (fake ones, of course) are available for downloading through MySpace, Hi5, Bebo, Piczo and Xanga. Teens also can grab “Infect truth” wallpaper and case covers for their Sony PlayStation consoles—the first time truth has produced creative for the portable gaming device.
The combined reach of social networking sites exceeds 59 billion page views per month, and truth intends to tap into the viral magic of that medium with forward-to-a-friend technology.
“With declining funds, truth seeks to put truth messages in nontraditional, easily accessible and effective mediums such as digital media,” Joseph Martyak, ALF’s evp-marketing, communications, and public policy, said. “The tobacco industry spent more than $15.1 billion in 2003 marketing its products in the U.S. alone. We can never match that spending, so instead we stay ahead by being more cutting edge and going directly to teens in media and at places where they naturally gather.”

I wonder if Martyak is aware of the fact that the median age of MySpace users is 35.



About David Burn

I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. Today—after working for seven agencies in five states—I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.