Truth is on tour this summer to get teens to avoid cigarettes. The grassroots program, which begins June 16 at the Salt Lake City stop of the Vans Warped Tour, marks the 13th time the Legacy Foundation's youth outreach effort has hit major events around the country during the summer.
The Truth tour will visit around 60 cities in 28 states, or about 80 events over the next four months -- all of them at music tours, gaming and sporting events. Legacy spokesperson Patricia McLaughlin tells Marketing Daily that for Truth -- which also does some advertising, digital programs, and other grassroots efforts during the year -- touring is big part of the outreach strategy. "It allows us an opportunity to have teens and young adults experience the campaign first-hand, in a tangible way," she says, adding that having Truth at summer events "gives us a way to connect with teens through their passion points -- music, gaming, fashion."
As in previous tours, this one will be run by Millennial “tour riders” whose job it is to hold forth at an orange "Truth truck" educating kids about how tobacco companies market, what happens to your body if you smoke, why it's so addictive, and the social consequences of being a walking chimney.
The Truth zone footprint includes fashion shows, dance contests, DJ lessons via “Scratch Academy,” games and Truth gear: t-shirts, bracelets, skateboard decks and shorts. Zone visitors can also play “DoomGram,” an interactive experience that highlights tobacco facts and lets visitors record a video or photo as a memento of their zone visit. An online application replicating the zone experience will be hosted on Facebook.
The tour is expanding this year to visit places like Little Rock, Ark.; Agawam, Mass.; Albuquerque, N.M.; and Saratoga, N.Y. The tour will stop at events like the Vans Warped Tour; Tony Hawk’s Birdhouse Left Coast Tour; a range of Six Flags locations; the Rockstar Energy Drink Uproar Festival; Gen Con Indy 2012; and New York Comic Con.
There is also a new Truth Facebook page focused on the 2012 Vans Warped Tour, and dangling free tickets to the Vans tour stops via a sweepstakes program. A revised Truth Web site has videos, photos from the tour zone and glimpses of life on the road. A Twitter feed features daily updates from each tour stop. Teens can also play games relating to tobacco-related facts, and get free downloads of posters.
Truth also maintains separate sites at online networks Flickr and YouTube, which will all incorporate tour-related elements and band interviews in front of the Truth zone.
McLaughlin says Truth did a fashion-related partnership with designer Jeff Staple last December, and was at the South by Southwest Festival in Austin in March, "and we are looking into some tour-related branded entertainment options."
According to McLaughlin, Truth measures reach from the summer tour through such means as emails collected, gear it gives out at events, and gate numbers for each tour stop. "Routinely, the tour usually reaches between 450,000 - 500,000 teens and young people each summer. The thing that tour brings for us is a national presence – it allows us to visit smaller cities and towns and interact with teens on the ground across the country, and in a personal, one-on-one way that is unique."