CDC Helps Fund Legacy’s ‘Truth’

BOSTON The American Legacy Foundation today said it has received a $3.6 million matching grant from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to help deliver its “Truth” youth smoking prevention message via ads in 45 cities nationwide.

The goal, according to Legacy, is to reach “a broader range of youth, including youth in surrounding smaller communities that typically have less exposure to such campaigns.”

“We must overcome the toll tobacco is taking on American youth,” said foundation CEO Cheryl Healton. “While we’ll never be able to match Big Tobacco’s current spending on marketing, we know that the ‘Truth’ campaign is effective counter-marketing.”

“Truth” advertising will increase in 18 states, with outreach focusing on smaller communities that have less exposure to the effort because of low cable TV penetration. The states—all part of the 1998 Master Settlement Agreement between attorneys general and the tobacco industry—also showed high numbers of teens and high youth smoking prevalence rates above the national average.

One “Truth” ad that will air as a result of this grant is “Singing Cowboy.” It opens with a man dressed as a cowboy riding a horse down a city street. The cowboy removes a bandanna around his neck to reveal a hole from a laryngectomy. He begins singing a song, which starts, “You don’t always die from tobacco” with the help of a hand-held electronic voice box.

The client frequently employs such jarring imagery to get its point across. It recently broke ads that show body parts dumped in New York garbage cans.

Havas’ Arnold in Boston and MDC Partners’ Crispin Porter + Bogusky in Miami are Legacy’s lead creative agencies. Omnicom Group’s GSD&M in Austin, Texas, also works on the $35 million “Truth” campaign.

Legacy this month placed media chores in review. Incumbent Media Head, a New York independent, has been invited to defend. Consultancy Pile and Co. here is overseeing the search. A review of creative duties will follow, but no timetable has been set for that process to begin. Legacy’s assignments are reviewed periodically.