Last updated on April 24, 2014 at 21:24 EDT

“ugly truth®” Campaign Gets Uglier

June 25, 2013

New digital, entertainment integrations bolster and expand campaign-related conversations

WASHINGTON, June 25, 2013 /PRNewswire/ — New entertainment integrations and social media initiatives move the “ugly truth” campaign into a new phase this month, further seeding important tobacco-related facts and messages with teens and young adults. The latest advertising campaign from truth - the nation’s largest youth smoking prevention campaign - features its first television ads since 2010, and a host of marketing and digital tools to educate and connect with teens and young people through a range of digital media initiatives and entertainment integrations.

To view the multimedia assets associated with this release, please click: http://www.multivu.com/mnr/62254-truth-campaign-gets-uglier-entertainment-integrations-expand-conversation

(Photo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20130625/MM37389)

(Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20101101/DC86294LOGO)

“We are pleased to extend the campaign’s three core television spots through some new content creation and entertainment with trusted partners as well as some new relationships,” said Eric Asche, Chief Marketing Officer at Legacy®, the national public health foundation that directs and funds the truth® campaign. “The questions raised through our creative concepts are fodder for wider conversations about how the tobacco industry behaves toward consumers and the toll its products continue to take on the health of many Americans. From content integration into an MTV show, to animated videos, to reality content on a YouTube channel – we are taking the ‘ugly truth‘ conversation deeper and into more places where we know teens and young people gather to watch, share and discuss.”

“ugly truth” reveals sets of thought-provoking facts, designed to illicit responses to how the tobacco industry characterizes potential customers and how it develops its products. Viewers decide “What’s the ugliest truth?”, and can then cast their votes over social media as to which fact resonates with them more. Teens can vote for the ‘ugliest truth‘ at thetruth.com, on truth‘s Facebook site, and via hashtags on Twitter and Instagram.

The campaign’s three 30-second television spots first launched in April with the spot “1075 vs 135.” “Poop Vs. Pee” followed in May and “Stereotypes Vs. Profiling” will launch later this month. The television spots served as the platform to highlight tobacco industry practices and drive online engagement. As of June 1(st), thetruth.com had received more than 200,000 votes, with people weighing in on various ugly truths. Building upon this momentum, truth is launching the second phase of its “ugly truth” campaign with a variety of new digital and entertainment integrations that will further the conversations with teens.


thetruth.comtruth’s main online hub currently features more than 20 unique “ugly truth” facts as illustrations, videos and animated graphics. Throughout the campaign more “ugly truths” will be added – totaling 50. On the site, audiences can track voting around the ugly truth.

  • Twitter – Twitter serves as the main hub for “ugly truth” voting. By tweeting hashtags associated with the various “ugly” tobacco facts, users can vote for the fact they think is the ugliest truth-engaging users with the campaign and sparking dialogue between truth and anyone affected by ugly truths. Beyond the voting hashtags, #uglytruth will serve as a general campaign hashtag for those interested in discussing or following the conversation around the general campaign. Follow truth on twitter @truthorange.
  • Facebooktruth’s Facebook page (facebook.com/truthorange) has taken on an ugly look. Fact blasts with “ugly” images fill the page and drive engagement with truth’s more than 1.7 million fans.
  • Instagram – On Instagram (@truthorange) followers can submit their own ugly truth-inspired photos by using the #uglytruth hashtag.
  • Vine – With Vine, the mobile app that allows users to create 6 second sharable videos, truth team members in the field are sharing videos inspired by the fact that every 6 seconds someone dies of a tobacco-related disease. The videos are shared through truth’s Twitter (@truthorange).
  • Tumblr - A new tumblr for truth (thetruthorange.tumblr.com) will be unveiled soon to showcase all of the “ugly truth” videos.


Six short 30-60-second animations will be featured on thetruth.com and on truth‘s YouTube page. The spots bring to life various ugly truths. Lead creative agency Arnold Worldwide worked in partnership with four animation partners on this initiative, including Radar (Chicago), Zanimation (Los Angeles), Black Math (Boston), and Rated Content (New York).

Each animation features a different tobacco-related fact, interpreted through animation. Like the television spots that anchor the campaign, viewers are encouraged to “vote” for the various animations based on the facts.

    Animation title Fact                             Voting hashtag Creative Partner
    --------------- ----                             -------------- ----------------

    Crawl            How do infants avoid secondhand
                     smoke? "At some point they
                     begin to crawl." Tobacco
                     Executive, 1996.                               Zanimation

    ---                                              ----------

                     In the U.S., Big Tobacco's
                     products kill more Americans
                     than shark attacks, yeti
                     attacks, fires, floods, sky
                     diving accidents, car crashes,
    More Than        and murder combined.            #voteMORETHAN  Black Math
    ---------       -------------------------------  -------------  ----------

    69               There are 69 animal and/or
                     human carcinogens in tobacco
                     smoke.                          #vote69        Black Math
    ---             -----------------------------    -------        ----------

    Ice Cream        In 1970, one tobacco company
                     brainstormed offering menthol
                     cigarettes on a stick, like an
                     ice pop.                        #voteICECREAM  Black Math
    ---------       -------------------------------  -------------  ----------

                     A 1978 Big Tobacco document
                     shows they worried publishing
                     that radioactive Polonium-210
                     is in cigarette smoke would be
    Giant            like "waking a sleeping giant." #voteGiant     Radar
    -----           -------------------------------- ----------     -----

    14 Years         In 1974, a tobacco company
                     explored targeting customers as
                     young as age 14.                #vote14YEARS   Rated Content
    --------        -------------------------------- ------------   -------------


Adult Swim

truth and Adult Swim are working together to create an original :30 animated spot to air in relation with the Adult Swim animated series, China, IL. The program focuses on two brothers who teach at a state university in China, IL. The health-related animated spot will illuminate the fact that there are more than 7000 chemicals in cigarette smoke, yet Big Tobacco does not have to list any ingredients on its packaging. The spot is currently airing nightly on the network.


truth-related segments recently aired on the VH1 program “Best Week Ever” – a weekly program featuring comedians analyzing the week’s developments in pop culture, entertainment and celebrity gossip, and offering their unique commentary.

One segment features comedians offering their perspective on truth’s “Poop vs. Pee” segment and another on truth’s animated spot “More Than.”


truth and TeenNick, Nickelodeon’s 24-hour network for teens and tweens, are teaming up for a :30 ugly truth vignette featuring characters from the popular teen drama, Degrassi. The spot will air on TeenNick the week of June 17th, leading up to the Degrassi Prom Special premiering on June 21(st) at 9 p.m. ET.


MTV teamed up with female comedians and bloggers to develop a new and innovative series called “Girl Code,” that ignites debate about what it takes to survive as a girl in today’s world. The show’s content and tone allowed the perfect opportunity to speak with truth’s audience in a bold, yet honest way. MTV and truth created original short-form videos called “Girl Code Revenge Squad,” inspired by Big Tobacco. The videos, featuring “Girl Code” talent, reveal and create parallels between relevant girl related topics and the ‘Ugly truths’ about tobacco. Airing during commercial breaks with episodes of “Girl Code”, the girls of “Girl Code” take on an A-Team show style and face common challenges that resonate with young women, with each video concluding with a tobacco-related fact. All of the “Girl Code” videos can be viewed here: http://truth.mtv.com.


truth teamed up with the popular YouTube channel The YOMYOMF Network (You Offend Me You Offend My Family) by having a branded integration in the second season of the Internet Icon program, a reality competition series focused on producing short videos under time constraints in an effort to discover the next big YouTube, personality, also known as the next “Internet Icon!”

Icon contestants competed in a series of challenges designed to highlight their creativity and filmmaking skills – all in an effort to become an internet sensation. Several different truth-related elements were featured in Season 2, as well as behind the scenes exclusives to each episode:

  • Mural – truth partnered with Los Angeles-based graffiti artist Duce, to produce a truth mural inspired by this fact: “It was reported in 2010, that the leading maker of menthol cigarettes bought over 50 URLs that no one else could use, including KillerMenthol.com and MentholKills.com. Why would they do that?” The mural was featured in some of the show’s background shots and added a creative ambience to the Iconography room.
  • “Challenges” – three tobacco-related challenges were incorporated into show storylines. In one episode, contestants are challenged to create a vlog (video blog), around what they consider ugly truths in their lives. To serve as an example, Internet Icon Season 1 runner up, Lana McKissack showed a vlog she created that was inspired by the ugly truth‘s “Poop vs Pee” spot. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Z19Rrrfzrc)
  • Props – In several episodes of Season 2, various truth-related props appear, including campaign-branded gear and items from classic truth advertisements. By clicking on the props, viewers can link to truth videos on truth’s YouTube channel (http://www.youtube.com/truthorange).
  • Behind the Scenes – truth is bringing exclusive access and footage of Internet Icon Season 2 through a series of behind-the-scenes clips. The videos are only available on the truth YouTube channel: http://www.youtube.com/user/truthorange.

Alloy Digital

Mark Crilley: Author/illustrator Mark Crilley created a custom video inspired by the ugly truth that “For 50 years tobacco companies denied smoking causes lung cancer and emphysema.” The campaign-related fact is illustrated in a time-lapse format. The video is posted on his YouTube channel and shared across truth‘s social media properties.


The Sound of Methane

truth is sponsoring a user-generated “sounds of methane” contest. truth will be providing a sound-less clip from the “Poop Vs. Pee” commercial. Fans will then create their own fart noises to serve as a soundtrack to the video.


deviantART is the largest online social network for artists and art enthusiasts. A challenge appearing on the site will ask users to draw inspiration from one of four ugly truth facts, including:

  • Monster: To draw public attention from the dangers of secondhand smoke in 1987, Big Tobacco thought they might try to “create a bigger monster (AIDS).”
  • Giant: A Big Tobacco document shows they worried that publishing that radioactive Polonium-210 is in cigarette smoke would be like “waking a sleeping giant.”
  • Undead: 1 in 3 youth smokers who begin smoking eventually die from tobacco-related disease. Not undead. Dead dead.
  • Mutant: One tobacco company biologically engineered tobacco plants to have twice the normal level of nicotine. Talk about a mutation.

Artists will submit examples of their ugliest Monster, Giant, Mutant or Undead art. The contest ends June 23. Finalist artwork will be displayed on truth‘s social media properties.


PHD of New York City developed and implemented the media buying strategy for the new integrations.


A growing body of research has confirmed the efficacy of the truth campaign in changing teens’ attitudes and behaviors toward smoking. A study published in the May 2009 issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine (AJPM) found that truth was directly responsible for keeping 450,000 teens from starting to smoke during its first four years, from 2000 to 2004. A second paper in that same publication found that the campaign not only paid for itself in its first two years but also saved roughly $1.9 billion and possibly up to $5.4 billion in medical care costs to society.

truth(®) is the largest national youth smoking prevention campaign and the only national campaign not directed by the tobacco industry. The campaign exposes the tactics of the tobacco industry, the truth about addiction, and the health effects and social consequences of smoking. truth gives teens facts and information about the tobacco industry and its products, allowing them to make their own informed choices about tobacco use. Research-proven as an effective public health intervention, the campaign is credited with keeping hundreds of thousands of teens from starting to smoke. To learn more, visit www.thetruth.com. truth is directed and funded by Legacy, a national public health foundation located in Washington, D.C. Legacy was created as a result of the November 1998 Master Settlement Agreement (MSA) reached between attorneys general from 46 states, five U.S. territories and the tobacco industry. To learn more about Legacy’s life-saving programs, visit www.LegacyForHealth.org.

Follow us on Twitter @truthPR.


Source: PR Newswire