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Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Politics 2.0: Infect Truth

The American Legacy Foundation is developing a number of initiatives to build off its latest "Infect truth" campaign, launched in October 2006.

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Patricia McLaughlin, senior director of communications at the American Legacy Foundation, said the campaign will have a heavy online interactive component.

"Playing on the prevalence of digital media in teen's lives, ALF has boosted up its site and created new tools and gizmos to help teens spread the truth message themselves," she added.

Using the tagline of "Knowledge is contagious: infect truth," the campaign tries to show teens that once they are informed, they are "infected" and can therefore spread the knowledge to their friends about making smarter and safer decisions about tobacco use, McLaughlin said.

The "infections," as they are called, consist of downloads, mini-sites, TV spots, and tobacco fact-based messages called "quickies." Teens can download screensavers, desktop themes, do-it-yourself print tools, play games, and even send messages written in back hair at features designed to spread virally throughout the online teen community.

The ALF is also placing campaign materials on social networking sites like MySpace, Hi5, Bebo, Piczo, as well as Xanga, marking the campaign's first foray into the teenage social media scene.

via YPulse and PR Week


Mnels said...

While the goals of these programs are admirable, this is off to me in several ways.

1. Having worked on anti-smoking campaigns before, I have yet to see this appeal (facts, however horrendous) have any measureable effect. Teens know smoking is bad, but how many teens die from smoking? Teens don't think that far ahead. Teens respond best to economics (raise the damn prices!) and ego (makes your breath stink, won't get layed, etc). A photo of Britney Speers with a butt has more effect than any of these spots.

2. Victimization - Teens do not think of themselves as victims. The know they are in control. Telling them they are "dupes", insults them. Someone from the '60s wrote this right?

3. Top down delivery. The site should probably not exist. The content should be entirely viral. Teens don't get information this way. This site strikes me as parental. Not a good thing.

I do hope it has some effect, but I have my doubts.

AKI SYSTEMS 2600 said...


To give them some credit
A)I am certain that are layers upon layers of politics involved. I think they have done a consistent job at not being as pansy as most PSA campaigns are forced to be.
B)I think their campaign has been effective at getting bureaucrats to think broader than just ads and commercials. I always thought their traditional media executions were "interactive" in the sense that they engaged, forced reapprasel, recruited the viewer into joining and spreading the germ to others (I recall their arrows and stickers and grafiti stencils intended for you to spray paint your own ads for them). Sure, some a bit hokey, but overall I gave them points on working with what they had and going above and beyond the traditional good cause "sympathy" execution.

C)The senior director of communications at ALF spouts language like "help teens spread the truth message themselves" and "placing campaign materials on social networking sites like MySpace, Hi5, Bebo, Piczo, as well as Xanga" may indeed be dubious in the details. But let's just be really real - many of us ain't got too many clients endorsing this type of talk (heresy! to many) nor are many clients embracing these avenues as credible and valid (even when they have the lowest budgets and should be all over this type of thinking to even the playing field for themselves). The first step is at least acknowledging the changing game. Infect Truth may not be fully there or enough, but they could be considered light years ahead of most.

I am no invested defender of Truth, but I understood anecdotally that the campaign has shown successes. If anybody got info, I'd love to hear more!

Found these linx:

some excerpts to consider:

The American Legacy Foundation’s truth® youth smoking prevention campaign significantly accelerated the decline in youth smoking nationwide between 2000 and 2002, according to a study conducted for the foundation by RTI International.

"The truth® campaign was associated with significant declines in youth smoking prevalence during its first two years," said Matthew Farrelly, Ph.D., director of RTI International’s Public Health Economics and Policy Research Program and the study’s lead author. "Thus, the foundation’s approach to appeal to youths with hard-hitting ads that show at-risk youths rejecting tobacco and that reveal deceptive tobacco industry marketing tactics appears to be effective."

Truth's greatest victory, though, is a substantial reduction in youth smoking. Cigarette use among high schoolers dropped from 28 percent to less than 23 percent -- a drop of more than 1 million smokers -- in the two years following the debut of truth.

In 2004, ALF spent $58.9 million on the Truth campaign while, in 2002, the tobacco companies spent $12.5 billion.

Anonymous said...