Sam Emrich

- Truth

The Background:

Since its 2000 launch, the Truth campaign had been very successful at decreasing the teen smoking rate — primarily through provocative ads focused on the dangers of smoking and tobacco-industry deceptions. But in 2015, they noticed traditional advertising was no longer resonating. We needed to help the Truth initiative reach and resonate with Gen Z.

The Work:

We updated the Truth campaign's message of anti-smoking for a new generation. A study by Action on Smoking & Health revealed that smoking photos on dating apps get almost twice as many rejections, or "left swipes," as photos of nonsmokers. And additional research showed over 91% of teens most photos of themselves (selfies) on social media.

We chose to deliver the message that smoking is both unattractive (and fatal) in an entertaining, light-hearted tone (no scare tactics) through influential Gen Z voices/role models - people these kids will actually listen to and admire.

The #LeftSwipeDat campaign encouraged teens everywhere to swipe left on dating app profile pics of people smoking. A music video starring young YouTube celebs was the campaign’s centerpiece. Social media amplification, national media outreach, and popular teen TV show integrations drove teens to thetruth.com.

The YouTube stars, who collectively reach 26.6 million-plus social media followers, helped on all fronts: media relations, ad appearances, and social media outreach.Social media audiences were also encouraged to create their own "Left Swipe" videos using the hashtags #leftswipedat and #PickMe for the chance to be part of a mash-up lip sync video.

Results:

The campaign earned nearly 2 billion media impressions from more than 75 placements in outlets such as People.com, On Air with Ryan Seacrest, CNN.com, HuffPost Teen, Access Hollywood, and Just Jared.

At submission time, the video had 39 million-plus online views. #LeftSwipeDat reached number one worldwide trending status twice, beating out #Grammys on Grammy night.

My Role:

Concepting, Brand Voice Development, Copywriting