"Tobacco users have a short shelf life. Teens are their replacements." The hard-hitting message is the theme of the Rhode Island Department of Heath (HEALTH) Youth Anti-Tobacco campaign, which launched earlier this week with a series of television, radio, Facebook, and outdoor advertisements. The television and radio spots feature the voice of Victor Crawford, a lobbyist for the tobacco industry, who admits to lying about youth-targeted industry marketing. After offering his apology, the ad reveals that Crawford died of throat cancer in 1996.
"The Replacements," a series of print advertisements designed to complement Crawford's message, features various youth faces branded with product barcodes that include the word "Replacement." All campaign ads include the slogan "Don't be a replacement, be an original" and direct people to an interactive Facebook page for more information. This innovative page showcases manipulative marketing practices used by the tobacco industry to sell young people their products.
"The youth campaign aims to combat the tobacco industry's deceptive marketing practices," said Director of Health Michael Fine, MD. "Today's youth are bombarded by advertising of cigarettes, new lines of candy-flavored, smokeless, and even dissolvable tobacco products designed to appeal to them. These products are dangerously addictive and youth need the tools to fight back."
The campaign represents over a year of research and creative development through HEALTH's Tobacco Control Program. Concepts and messaging were focus group tested with a target audience of ethnically diverse youth, between the ages of 12 and 17. The campaign is funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
View "The Replacements" Facebook page by visiting www.facebook.com/BeAnOriginal. For more information about tobacco control, visit www.health.ri.gov/healthrisks/tobacco/for/teens/index.php or call the Health Information Line at 401-222-5960 / RI Relay 711.