Any marketer will tell you, the teen market is huge. They have a big influence on their peers and spread brand awareness and loyalty like wildfire through social media. What if nonprofits could tap into this over-sharing peer influencing market to boost awareness about their causes? They need to look no further than the highly successful truth campaign. The truth anti-tobacco campaign started 1999 by the American Legacy Foundation (now called the truth initiative) to help inspire teens to both stop smoking and never start smoking. By raising the awareness of the dangers of smoking as well as exposing big tobacco companies not so ethical backgrounds, the truth initiative states that teen smoking is down from 28% in 2000 to 9% in 2014. Their newest campaign #FINISHIT seeks to end teenage smoking once and for all.

So how does truth reach teenagers? They go to where they are. truth is very active on facebook (2 million followers) twitter (121k followers) and instagram (35k followers) engaging followers in their hashtag campaigns, such as #FINISHIT, to spread awareness.

truth has commercials are all over MTV, ABC Family, and CW, where some of todays most popular teenage programming airs. truth also uses celebrities teenagers recognize, like vine and youtube stars to get their message across with one emotion teenagers love to share- humor:

These videos have millions of hits and have been shared thousands of times! What a way to get your message across!

The truth anti-tobacco campaign is a long running one, now going on 15 years. It has survived and been amazingly effective because it has evolved with its market. Who knows what the next 15 years will hold for truth, but I’m sure they hope they won’t be needed any longer.

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