Messages from the nation's largest youth smoking prevention campaign will "sing out" at five East Coast and southern universities this fall, as truth® launches its first-ever on-campus tour. The effort – called truthlive – will include free concerts featuring top musicians Cobra Starship and Outasight and on-campus activities featuring the truth truck and truth tour riders – all supported with advertising and promotions, gear and social media.
In the United States, more than 80 percent of adult smokers tried smoking by age 18 – and more than 90 percent tried it by age 20. Having a presence on college campuses provides an opportunity for truth's smoking prevention message to reach teens and young people who may be experimenting with smoking, thinking about it, or seeing people in their peer group smoke.
"truth's success stems from offering facts and information about tobacco use and tobacco industry marketing practices in channels and through media that are relevant with teens and young people – then allowing them to spread the message themselves with their peers and friend groups," said Cheryl G. Healton, DrPH, president and CEO of Legacy®, the national public health foundation that directs and funds the truth campaign. "truth's presence in an educational setting will still take that approach – connecting with young people through one of their common 'passion points' – music – as a way to subtly integrate truth's important messages into the experience."
The tour will begin Wednesday, October 3, with a concert at the main Pennsylvania State University campus in State College, and conclude on Thursday, October 11 at Clemson University in South Carolina. Each college tour stop will feature several elements. On the day of the events themselves, truth's presence will include:
A pop-up promotion on the university campus. There, students can register for the concert – free with registration – and meet truth crew members. Outside each concert venue, truth 'air dancer' balloons and entryway banners will guide students toward the truth on-campus experience.
The iconic orange truth "truck" and zone will feature truth tour "riders" – young people who educate young people about tobacco use in a fun, informal manner that includes games, interactive activities, dancing, contests and giveaways. A DJ will scratch and mix music and keep the party going. truth "gear" – fashionable and trendy items reflecting tobacco messages – will also be handed out.
Once inside the concert venue the truthlive experience will include:
Numbered graphics highlighting relevant tobacco statistics, placed on concourse floors. A truth tour rider will be posted at each station to answer questions and engage with students.
"Photo opp" stations where students can take pictures with "creatures" reflecting tobacco-related facts. Moveable, "bubble" magnets featuring common phrases will allow students to create their own customized captions and photos, which will be emailed to them. truth tour riders will staff the exhibit.
"Green Screen" – A second photo-related opportunity will allow students to have their photos taken in front of a digitAl Green screen, which will reveal truth creative assets. Photos can then be reviewed and uploaded to students' Facebook walls.
Signage and truth branding throughout the concert venue
Video Jockey session – On a big screen onstage, a mix of visual assets from the truth campaign (ads, online creative, photos, etc), will be morphed together with music and laser lights to highlight the campaign through a dynamic visual experience.
All of the truth-related elements will lead up to the big moment – when Cobra Starship and Outasight take the stage to offer students a memorable, free experience. Cobra Starship first "met" truth during the 2008 summer Vans Warped Tour, when the band was a featured musician on tour and the truth crew and truck appeared as part of Vans' all-day festival of activities. That summer, Cobra Starship appeared in truth-related videos that appeared online at thetruth.com and on FUEL TV and in a fuel.tv podcast.
"We are absolutely thrilled to have top-notch musicians – popular with the college crowd – taking part in this effort," said Nicole Dorrler, Assistant Vice President of Marketing at Legacy. "Cobra Starship and Outasight are exemplary artists for our inaugural tour, and we look forward to giving college students a memorable concert and experience. After more than a decade of touring with established music tours like the Vans Warped Tour, we know music-related events resonate with teens and young people and we know this unique truth touring experience will as well."