Truth Gets Game For Anti-Tobacco Message


Truth is getting into gaming to get younger people to shoot down the evil constituents of cigarettes and other tobacco products. Legacy's "truth" campaign to prevent smoking among youth is launching a new mobile game title called "Flavor Monsters."

The campaign, one of the organization’s largest to date, centers on a free downloadable digital game on Apple and Android devices. Around the central asset are tours, media integrations, ads, promotions, events, gear, products and even integration on a SyFy reality show.

Nicole Dorrier, senior director, youth prevention marketing at Legacy, tells Marketing Daily that the idea was developed with Arnold Worldwide. "We wanted the game play itself to be informative. At each level players have to beat 1,200 monsters, which is how many people die every day from tobacco related illness."

She says that when players get to the end of each level they are met by the boss monster for that level, representing one of the flavors that tobacco companies use the lure kids. "So level one is honey. After you defeat him he provides information about how to defeat the monster at the next level. "He also provides information. For honey it would be that in 1972 tobacco companies were thinking of adding honey to attract younger consumers."

There are six levels to the game, which has a geographic theme that moves players from the West Coast to the East. The idea is that players have to defeat the monsters to keep the U.S. safe. Dorrier says truth is hoping for a million downloads of the game and that the Centers for Disease Control is helping supplement promotional aspects.

Dorrier says truth looked at consumer gaming behavior to discern the best thematic platform for the game, which follows the "tower defense" narrative. "This allows us to have a much longer engagement than we get from, say, a 30-second spot. We did lots of usability studies prior to launch and talked to gaming experts. Tower defense games are very popular, and this is extremely high end, with 3D modeling."

She says truth will probably expand the program next year "We got imput from gamers so we are in the process now of making updates. We will promote it into next year and plan on another tour in March.

The game follows a near-future format, in which “Flavor Monsters” -- meant to embody tobacco flavoring -- are attacking Earth, per truth. The goal is to stop the creatures at multiple skill levels, with different creatures at each level. The core message is in a virtual field manual that has data on all the monsters, along with relevant tobacco-related facts, and details on the tools that can be used to defeat the monsters.

Truth is touting the program with its first-ever gaming tour this August. The tour, which stops at gaming conventions among other events, includes teams engaging teens and young adults about Big Tobacco marketing tactics and the consequences of smoking and using other tobacco products. Truth will also have an interactive booth at gaming conventions called “45 Flavors," where gamers can play, get truth gear and products, and take part in a video virtual simulation that will give attendees the experience of being part of the actual Flavor Monsters game. 

As part of the tour, the usually orange “truth truck” will be repainted and branded with artwork from the Flavor Monsters game. At the truck, attendees will be able to play the game on iPads. One of the iPads’ gameplays will project on to a screen for others to watch. Stops include Six Flags amusement parks in various states, Gen Con in Indianapolis, Dragon*Con in Atlanta, Baltimore Comic-Con, Mid-Ohio Comic Con, and New York Comic Con.

“The launch of the mobile game and the corresponding gaming tour is just part of a comprehensive ‘Flavor Monsters’ experience where we will be connecting with teens and young people through a number of communications ‘touch points” said Eric Asche, CMO of Legacy, in a statement. “Branded entertainment, new gear and a ‘real-life’ game experience are all tools we are using to bring the game to life for users.”

Truth is also extending the campaign via a partnership with the Syfy channel's Face Off to create a human version of a “Flavor Monster.” For the reality show, contestant and special effects consultant Rod Maxwell brought to life the “Strawberry Flavor Monster.” The piece will air on Syfy TV, beginning with promos, running Sept. 4, per the organization. 

Truth is also running a "Flavor Monsters" through Sept. 20, and a cinema slide in static announcements running before "coming attractions," and Flavor Monsters-themed posters will be on display in select cinema lobbies. 

A heavy online media program includes online webisodes via Ingenuity Engine, a Hollywood-based firm, plus social media elements and an online portal for tickets to see truth on tour at the organization's Facebook page at, where each entry makes users eligible to win a grand prize VIP weekend at New York Comic Con 2012.   

Also on deck is out-of-home via Zoom Media, with a rotation of "Flavor Monsters" murals in San Francisco, Chicago and New York City. Truth says QR codes painted on the murals will link viewers to Flavor Monsters webisodes and the game itself.

Advertising, which runs from Aug. 27 through Oct. 31 will also be Intergi, a gaming and entertainment community online; tech-TV cable network G4; video retailer GameStop; Twitter; Social Theater; Gamespot; iAd; Flurry; and Taykey.

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