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Anti-Smoking Ad Campaign Aimed at Teens Focuses on Social Change

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A new version of the “Truth” anti-smoking campaign, aimed at teenagers, urges them to use social media to convince their peers not to smoke, The New York Times reports. Previously, the campaign encouraged teens to focus their rebellious tendencies against tobacco companies.

The new campaign, called “Finish It,” from the group Legacy, acknowledges that teens crave to be the agents of social change, according to Glenn Cole, creative officer of the ad agency 72andSunny, which worked with Legacy to create the ads.

The “Truth” campaign was first introduced 14 years ago. It focused on internal tobacco company marketing documents that were uncovered as part of a lawsuit by state attorneys general, which showed the companies viewed teens as a source of replacement smokers. Cole notes that today’s teens are more interested in taking positive action than protesting.

“In the past work, there’s a clear enemy, an opposing force, and that was Big Tobacco, and they’re still there,” Mr. Cole told the newspaper. “An insight we built this campaign around is that this up-and-coming generation is just craving to be agents of social change, and their biggest frustration is that they just don’t know how to do it.”

The new ads tell teens, “We have the power. We have the creativity. We will be the generation that ends smoking. Finish it.” The campaign website allows teens to superimpose a logo for the campaign, an “X” in an orange square, onto their profile picture, so that their face is still visible. The ad says, “Give them something to follow. Change your profile pic to an ‘X’ and let everyone know you’re part of the generation that’s going to end smoking.”

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