Nothing Says 'Don't Smoke' Like 'Truth' On Wheels

The Truth campaign, part of the Legacy Foundation, has hit the road for the past 14 summers to keep cigs away from kids. The tour gets bigger every year, and this time Truth is going well beyond the Vans Warped Tour of which it has been a long-time sponsor and participant. For the first time, Truth will be part of the Rockstar Energy Mayhem Festival, a heavy-metal centric tour, and Music City in Nashville. 

The road show, hitting 50 cities and 25 states this summer, with over 100 stops along the way, comprises two separate tours, each manned by young people -- “tour riders” -- rolling around the country in orange “Truth Truck” vans. In addition to the music festivals, the tour will also visit Six Flags parks; the Vans US Open of Surfing in Huntington Beach, Calif.; the Vans Presents the Coastal Edge East Coast Surfing Championships; Vans House Parties; and the Major League Gaming Championship.

And the vans will visit other music, sports and gaming events around scheduled concert stops. The effort has things like a DJ Booth, merchandise and other engagements, while the "truth tour riders" will talk to kids about tobacco issues. The tour also involves social media games, and is offering T-shirts, hats, flip-flops, and skateboard decks, and free tickets to the concerts on @truthorange.

The 2013 tour reached about two million teens and young adults, per the organization. “Every year, we focus on a different mix of tour properties,” says Patricia McLaughlin, assistant VP of communications at Legacy. She tells Marketing Daily that for the past two years the focus beyond Vans Warped was on gaming, as the campaign itself got into that business, having launched three games of its own with an anti-smoking theme. “What all of this plays into is finding ways to interact with youth where they are.” 

Truth is also prepping a major ad campaign slated for late summer. To line up its ducks, the organization tapped L.A.-based 72andSunny (which replaces former agency Arnold Worldwide) for creative, as well as Medicom and Ketchum for media and PR, respectively. 

The Legacy Foundation says that in the U.S., 86% of adult smokers started smoking by age 18. But there's some good -- and bad -- news on smoking. The Centers for Disease Control, in its new report on its Youth Risk Behavior Survey conducted in 2013, reports that last year the lowest number ever (15.7%) of high school students smoked cigarettes. However, cigar use among high schoolers is up to 16%, and now matches cigarette smoking (both are 16%). And among 12th grade boys, cigar rates are 23%, versus 20% for cigarettes.

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