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Legacy Gets Animated in Latest Spots

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NEW YORK The American Legacy Foundation will employ animation, song and dance in the latest round of commercials in its "Truth" youth smoking-prevention campaign.

The first of five "Sunny Side of Truth" spots, created jointly by Arnold, Boston, and Crispin Porter + Bogusky, Miami, breaks this week. Two teens are in a New York plaza strewn with bear traps baited with cigarette packs. They tell a crowd that cigarette manufacturers manipulated nicotine levels to keep smokers hooked. But they're interrupted by an animated unicorn who says, "That's why you need the magical amount." The trio is joined by cartoon Cupids, storks and other characters in a song-and-dance routine about how cigarettes are rigged to keep smokers from quitting.

"With kids today, as sarcastic as they are, we knew we could talk to them in this way because this is how they are used to communicating with each other," said Nicole Dorrier, director of marketing at Legacy.

Other spots will break in February, May, July and November on cable; the campaign also will run in more than 10,000 Screenvision theaters in March and September. Support includes a summer grassroots tour of "Truth" ambassadors and online games that can be shared on MySpace, Facebook, Bebo, Hi-5 and Xanga.

Legacy is also working with Viacom to place the animated characters in programming on MTV and Nickelodeon.