The Truth About The "truth" Campaign
Start writing a post
Politics and Activism

The Truth About The "truth" Campaign

They're condescending and out of touch.

The Truth About The "truth" Campaign

Cigarettes kill. There’s no denying that. Since the passing of the Public Health Cigarette Smoking Act in 1971, the advertisement of tobacco products has been banned on television and radio. In 1984, cigarette companies were forced into attaching the Surgeon General’s warning onto their packaging. Slowly, the danger of using tobacco products became more well known. However, it wasn’t until 1999 that advertisement shifted to full-blown anti-smoking campaigns.

The most well-known anti-smoking campaign is the “truth” campaign; stylized with a lowercase ‘t’. The organization was established in 1999 and focused on reducing the usage of tobacco by teenagers. They are known for using unusual commercials and fear tactics in order to discourage tobacco use. Understandably so. Fear is a good way to discourage someone from doing something. The “Real Cost” campaign also uses appalling imagery in order to represent what cigarettes can do to a person. They incorporate statistics with their ads in order to scare and educate viewers.

The “truth” campaign is another monster entirely. Recently, the “truth” campaign has warped into a condescending nightmare of non-relatable nonsense. Their ads as of late have been targeted toward teenagers in the most condescending way a company could. In an attempt to relate to teens, “truth” ads attempt to utilize popular internet culture; memes. With a basic understanding of what memes are, the “truth” campaign attempted to spew them onto a canvas until they had their anti-smoking ad[JK1] [JK2] . Here’s the issue. Memes are an absurd form of comedy that can only be described as inside jokes for the entire internet. Because of the nature of the internet, memes tend to be funny only as long as no one gets sick of the joke. Replicating memes and coercing them to fit into their agenda is condescending, because it assumes that they’re funny in any context and that teens watching will identify with their favorite repetitive jokes and choose not to smoke.

Why did the chicken cross the road? Because their friend offered them a cigarette.


“truth” is pushing their agenda using a medium that doesn’t fit the tone of the message. Using tobacco is dangerous to peoples’ livelihood. To make light of it and try to “relate to the kids” mocks the intelligence of their target audience. Insinuating that your audience is stupid is a bad way of trying to convince that audience of something.

On top of their attempt to appeal to youth culture is their “squadless” commercials. “Squad” is a slang term referring to a group of friends that frequently hang out. Clearly any usage of young people lingo results in immediate relatability.

The purpose of the “squadless” ads are to shed light on the #WageGap. No, not the wage gap between men and women working the same job that has been a talking point for decades. I am referring to the #WageGap that is a buzzword alluding to the aforementioned social issue, but actually refers to the “fact” that smokers, on average, make $10,000 less per year than a non-smoker. Ignoring the use of the buzzword as a way of garnering attention, their “fact” about smokers making less money is entirely fabricated. Correlation is not causation. Yes, on average a person who smokes will make less money than someone who does not. This is not due to their smoking. This is a factor of socioeconomic status.

Generally speaking, the lower class is more inclined to smoke due to the environment in which they live. On the other hand, the higher classes are less inclined to smoke due to the stigma surrounding smokers in their community. The fact that they smoke is irrelevant to the statistic. A person who smokes is not going to suddenly struggle financially. In fact, they’re more likely to find higher pay, because they need the money to keep buying cigarettes. Addictions will do that.

But sure, ignore the bigger picture and continue making your music videos about Tinder and how a user is less likely to hook up if they’re seen smoking.

Bear in mind, tobacco usage is still dangerous. The ignorance of “truth’s” marketing team does not diminish how harmful tobacco is. However, if these companies sincerely expect to educate the masses on the dangers of cigarettes, then they’re going to have to stop trying to entertain and appeal to the audience and start educating.



Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.

12 Reasons Why I Love Christmas

What's Not To Love? But These Reasons Are Why Christmas Is Best

Young woman with open arms enjoying the snow on a street decorated with Christmas lights.

There are so many reasons why I love the Christmas time! Check out the joy that makes this time of year truly special, from festive traditions to heartwarming moments. Enjoy!

Keep Reading...Show less

A Beginner's Wine Appreciation Course

While I most certainly do not know everything, I feel like I know more than the average 21-year-old about vino, so I wrote this beginner's wine appreciate course to help YOU navigate the wine world and drink like a pro.

White wine being poured into a glass

Keep Reading...Show less
Types of ice cream

Who doesn't love ice cream? People from all over the world enjoy the frozen dessert, but different countries have their own twists on the classic treat.

Keep Reading...Show less
Student Life

100 Reasons to Choose Happiness

Happy Moments to Brighten Your Day!

A man with a white beard and mustache wearing a hat

As any other person on this planet, it sometimes can be hard to find the good in things. However, as I have always tried my hardest to find happiness in any and every moment and just generally always try to find the best in every situation, I have realized that your own happiness is much more important than people often think. Finding the good in any situation can help you to find happiness in some of the simplest and unexpected places.

Keep Reading...Show less

Remember The True Meaning of Christmas

“Where are you Christmas? Why can’t I find you?”

A painting of the virgin Mary, the baby Jesus, and the wise men

It’s everyone’s favorite time of year. Christmastime is a celebration, but have we forgotten what we are supposed to be celebrating? There is a reason the holiday is called Christmas. Not presentmas. Not Santamas. Not Swiftmas. Christmas.

boy standing in front of man wearing santa claus costume Photo by __ drz __ on Unsplash

What many people forget is that there is no Christmas without Christ. Not only is this a time to spend with your family and loved ones, it is a time to reflect on the blessings we have gotten from Jesus. After all, it is His birthday.

Keep Reading...Show less

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Facebook Comments