Truth: Big Tobacco Is Profiling Minority Groups

The antismoking advocacy group truth is out with a new campaign from 72andSunny that highlights what it calls the profiling tactics of the tobacco industry. Targeted groups, the organization says, include African Americans, people in low-income neighborhoods, the LBTGQ community and the mentally ill, who often rely on tobacco products as a coping mechanism.

The organization’s research, for example, found that in cities like Philadelphia, Washington DC, and New York, there are up to 10 times more tobacco advertisements per person in black neighborhoods than other neighborhoods.

The new campaign, titled, #STOPPROFILING, debuted during the Grammy’s telecast last Sunday with two spots featuring singer/actress Amanda Seales who served  as “truth correspondent” in the ads.

Seales opens one ad by asserting that “Big Tobacco must love diversity. They love it so much that they advertise up to ten times more in black neighborhoods than in other neighborhoods.”



“Ten times!” she adds for emphasis. “How is that OK?” Seales then notes that the tobacco industry has targeted African Americans as a “market priority. It’s not a coincidence it’s profiling,” she states.

In the ad, targeted to teens and young adults, Seales signs off with “Be the generation that stops smoking.”

The second ad focuses on the point that low-income neighborhoods have more stores selling cigarettes near schools than other neighborhoods. That spot opens with Seales saying, “Let’s talk about how Big Tobacco is investing in the future of this country.”

Commenting on the new truth initiative, the group’s President and CEO Robin Koval stated, “Today’s teens are a generation with an unyielding commitment to diversity, inclusivity and equality. It’s well documented that teens are passionate about social justice issues.  By arming them with the facts about tobacco industry profiling tactics, we are empowering them to be the generation to end tobacco in every community nationwide.”

In addition to the two spots that broke this week, the campaign will include another dozen or so pieces of content across digital and TV platforms. 72andSunny sibling agency Assembly (both part of MDC Partners) is handling media planning and buying for the campaign.

More on the campaign can be found here.



2 comments about "Truth: Big Tobacco Is Profiling Minority Groups".
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  1. Joseph Mansell from ASU, February 19, 2017 at 11:22 p.m.

    I really like this advertisement to end tobacco usage because it’s for a really good cause in general with the health of our general population. I also really liked how they pointed out the blatant use of advertising when it comes to specific neighborhoods that are known to use tobacco products more frequently. I think that their spokesperson for this movement whether it was intended or not was the most appropriate because she wasn’t of a predominantly white background. Immediately, in the opening of the scene Amanda Seales tackles the issue of advertising in communities that are generally considered “black neighborhoods.” She further tells us that tobacco companies are using advertisement up to ten times more in these neighborhood opposed to all other neighborhoods. This touches back to her opening about diversity and how tobacco companies love diversity and they do so much that they are willing to spend their money and time putting it in these places much more. The problem is that their focus is for something that has yet to ever benefit anyone, especially the citizens that fill these communities. The tobacco companies have before considered them as a marketing priority. The lack of diversity is honestly upsetting because this is for a very harmful product that is being infiltrated throughout the youth of black children to old adulthood and definitely has an impact on the people who are in these locations. This profiling is completely wrong, yet it’s legal, which is a debatable theme that we’ve seen through our history of Arizona and our laws, to how our current President Trump is able to use discrimination to pass laws. Discrimination of any sort will cause conflict whether it’s through what seems as simple advertising or passing laws siding with it. My only real criticism would be for them to have added to being the generation that ends smoking, would be to end it with ending profiling.

  2. Paula Lynn from Who Else Unlimited, February 20, 2017 at 9:53 a.m.

    The ones responsible for allowing tobacco to put their unending resources to this end comes from congress' and senates federally and throughout the states. Use the energy to get people registered and vote for candidates who are willing to walk away from tobacco lobbyists who come in many forms and vote to dissallow tobacco ads everywhere and limit on sales, pressure  on policing illegal smokes (just destroy the merchandise), no advertisement and packaging with the freaked out pictures and warnings. Freedom - from cigarettes and its ads, too  - is not free. It takes diligence. 

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