Legacy’s ‘Truth’ Creative Is All Arnold’s

BOSTON Citing financial considerations, the American Legacy Foundation today said it would consolidate creative chores on its national “Truth” anti-smoking campaign at Havas’ Arnold, effective in 2008.

Arnold here and MDC Partners’ Crispin Porter + Bogusky in Miami have handled the national anti-smoking business as a team for about a decade since the account’s inception.

“We weren’t in a position to afford both agencies moving forward,” said Eric Asche, Legacy svp, marketing. “We are extremely saddened, and that’s not just rhetoric, that we are not able to continue the relationship.”

“Truth” has won countless industry awards and been recognized as one of the most noteworthy ad campaigns of its era.

Some of “Truth’s” most recent ads have been particularly memorable. These include “Singing Cowboy,” which showed a man dressed as a cowboy riding a horse down a city street. The cowboy removes a bandanna from 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 handheld electronic voice box.

Another recent spot that courted some controversy showed human body parts in New York garbage cans. On-screen text read, “Every month, tobacco kills more people than there are trash cans in NYC.”

Legacy’s spending has dwindled of late. The client spent about $30 million in U.S. measured media through the first three quarters of 2007, per Nielsen Monitor-Plus. That’s roughly as much as it spent in each of the past two years. Legacy spent about $55 million during a full year as recently as 2004. Spending peaked in 2002-03, with Legacy’s ad outlay about $90 million in each of those two years.

“The work we have accomplished together has been nothing short of groundbreaking,” said Jeff Hicks, CEO of Crispin. “Research shows that the campaign’s effect resulted in 300,000 fewer smokers in its first two years alone, so the awards are nice but saving lives is our best reward. We’re disappointed, but fully support the decision and are hopeful that the foundation’s funding will return to levels allowing it to resume the partnership.”

Earlier this year, Legacy moved its media chores to Omnicom Group’s PHD in New York following a review. That portion of the business had been with independent Media Head in New York. In addition, Omnicom’s GSD&M Idea City in Austin, Texas, continues to work on some non-“Truth” Legacy ads.