Wisdom.Applied Wednesday: Truth Tries to ‘Finish It’

Star power works miraculously. From the headphones they use and clothes they wear to charities and causes they support and even their health and wellness habits, celebrities can sway the masses by simply using a product (whether or not they’re paid to endorse it or not). This Wisdom.Applied Wednesday, let’s take a look at how one nonprofit is using star power a little differently to maximize its reach.

This year, Miley Cyrus realized the magnitude of her star power. Instead of using her power to twerk at the VMAs, Miley used her voice to raise awareness for homeless youth. And the organization she’s promoting, My Friend’s Place, is already seeing the results of her backing.

“I think what I realized after my last performance at the VMAs, I didn’t realize my platform, I didn’t realize my power and I didn’t realize my voice and how loud it is,” Cyrus said in an interview with the AP Monday. “…If I’m going to be speaking this loud, what am I trying to scream at the world?”

Perhaps that’s a message all stars should consider.

But Cyrus wasn’t the only one to use the VMAs to propel a message. Legacy’s (formerly the American Legacy Foundation) Truth, which has been taking on the Big Tobacco industry for almost fifteen years, also used star power and the VMAs as a platform to launch a new PSA in its “Finish It” campaign. Although “Finish It” puts a different light on star power: the spot calls out some of the most famous “unpaid tobacco spokespersons.”

 

 

The PSA features several A-list celebrities (including Orlando Bloom, Kate Moss, Kiefer Sutherland, Rihanna, Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson and Liam Hemsworth), and exposes that every time a photographer snaps a shot of celebrities smoking cigarettes, Big Tobacco companies get free publicity. Thus, Hollywood’s rich and famous perpetuate the idea that smoking is cool and aspirational… and that impacts their fans according to Truth.

Truth’s use of celebrities and the VMAs allowed it to springboard the “Finish It” campaign, which launched earlier this month when Truth released the first installment of the PSAs. The Turth campaign’s new direction speaks to the success the nonprofit has had since 2000, when the teen smoking rate was 23%. Now it’s 9%. While the Truth message has obviously been effective, it has decided to change it’s marketing tactics (as the Big Tobacco companies have done) and aims to decrease teen smoking from 9% to 0%.

While the celebrities are the famous unpaid spokespersons adding to the smoking epidemic, teens who smoke have their own weight as spokesmen as well. And anti-smoking teens are ultimately the key to spreading the word about the campaign. “Finish It” seeks to encourage teens and young adults to become finishers. Truth wants teens to spread the message via social media, and the website features a few ways for teens to get involved:

Profile X

Much like the Human Rights Campaign last year, Truth encourages teens to change their profile photos on their social media accounts to the orange Truth logo. TheTruth.com visitors can upload any photo of themselves to the site and customize their own orange logo to set as their profile picture.

Erase & Replace

Again, Truth allows visitors to upload photos, this time ones that contain cigarettes, and replace the cigarettes with other images such as a toothbrush, tennis ball or a bandanna (to name a few).

Share

Recently, the Ice Bucket Challenge has highlighted the power of social media (the grassroots campaign has raised $80 million since July 29), and Truth similarly calls on teens to use social media to generate results. The website encourages teens to share the Truth videos and content created on the website like the profile X or Erase & Replace photos.

 

What do you think about the “Finish It” campaign? Tell us in the comments!

Cassandra is a Content Manager and Developer at SJG. She earned her BA from Fontbonne University in 2011. Outside the office, she enjoys an active, healthy and well-rounded lifestyle including reading, writing, running, golfing, watching films, listening to music, taking photographs, and consuming media and social media.