Teen-Approved ALF Spots to Debut on Cable

As part of the American Legacy Foundation’s $150-225 million anti-tobacco campaign, brazen, edgy creative borrowing from the successful work running in Florida, Massachusetts and California, will break as early as next week on cable TV networks.
A group of teenagers working with Arnold Communications in Boston and Crispin Porter & Bogusky in Miami, which won the account in September, are influencing the campaign’s media buys and strategy heavily, sources said.
The teens want the spots to air with little advance publicity on MTV, the WB Network and Fox, where shows like Dawson’s Creek are popular among 12-17-year-olds ALF is targeting with its first round of ads.
The ads, such as the “Truth” work Crispin did for Florida’s anti-smoking effort, are designed to make teenagers rebel against the tobacco industry. “The idea is to let kids know the industry is playing them for a sucker,” said one source familiar with the campaign.
By using Florida’s model, ALF risks violating the Master Settlement Agreement between the states and Big Tobacco, which created the national anti-smoking effort. A clause in the contract prohibits the use of ads that vilify the tobacco industry, but sources said ALF believes it can push the issue.
ALF officials declined comment.
Agencies with anti-smoking experience said ALF’s plan to foster teen rebellion made sense. “You have to make sure the advertising doesn’t look, feel or smell like it is coming from authority,” said Bruce Dundore, creative director at Asher & Partners, Los Angeles, which competed for the account but lost to Arnold.
–with staff reports