THE FACTS NOW is a youth tobacco prevention campaign established by the Florida Department of Health in 2015. This campaign was designed to prevent 13 to 24-year-old Floridians from experimenting with tobacco products, and to expose the tobacco industry’s (“Big Tobacco”) lies. THE FACTS NOW aims to impact the audience’s knowledge, attitudes, and beliefs around tobacco, to change their behavior.
In recent years the campaign has shifted as the battle against Big Tobacco evolved. E-cigarettes took the market by storm, causing major increases in nicotine addiction among teens, and the social media landscape advanced. As the new generation became addicted and dependent on these new products, they started looking for help. The pressure escalated for THE FACTS NOW to rethink marketing tactics to stay relevant with youth and young adults and break through the noise on social channels with authentic behavior-changing content. This was a pivotal moment for THE FACTS NOW campaign. In order to successfully lower youth vaping rates, our content would need to disrupt the target audience’s feed, spread awareness about the dangers of disposable e-cigarettes and provide resources to help youth quit.
In order to effectively connect with the campaign’s target audience, we needed to understand where they were spending their time, what key messages resonated with them and how we could deliver these messages as eye-catching creative. Audience research and social listening were key elements in further developing THE FACTS NOW’s campaign strategy and messaging pillars. Through this research, we identified the need to evolve the campaign to be more attuned to the audience’s voice, aligned with the trending look and feel of content on social platforms and provide an attention-grabbing immersive experience. To do this our strategy included:
Increasing awareness through a 360-campaign that would educate the target audience through social, digital and in-person touchpoints and drive our audience to our resources.
Reprioritize social channels and shift its creative approach to encompass the 360-campaign that would captivate and resonate with the audience.
THE FACTS NOW’s 360 campaign included a strong focus on digital and social content to increase the visibility and effectiveness of the campaign’s messaging with the target audience. To maximize the campaign’s creative capabilities and maintain a strong presence on our priority social channels, our team developed an in-house creative studio to aid production. This studio helped to support a new authentic style of filming that was native to the Gen-Z audience and gave us the ability to nimbly jump into trends. Social and digital content played a key role in driving awareness and engagement at in-person events. Our team relied heavily on audience insights from events and social listening to better understand our audience’s needs and to tailor our campaign’s messaging.
Over the past year, THE FACTS NOW 360 campaign successfully:
Created and launched cessation services and materials specific to youth and young adults using e-cigarettes.
Developed a suite of assets that would drive youth and young adults to the new text-to-quit program and website landing page.
Produced 50 TikTok-style assets to jump into trends and conversations in real-time.
Sponsored several youth-focused in-person events around Florida.
Collaborated with Snapchat to bring a new interactive filter to the platform, allowing users to virtually build their own toxic vape and learn about the dangerous ingredients found in e-cigarettes.
Prioritized YouTube long-format videos to further educate the audience, addressing questions from community management.
There’s a long way to go in undoing the massive damage that the vaping industry has caused. We are proud to say that our work with this campaign has played a huge role in decreasing the vaping rates in Florida, especially between 2018 to 2022. While there are other contributing factors, we can prove that our campaign was effective through the following stats:
Youth vaping rates among high school students in Florida decreased by 38.7% between 2018 and 2022
Youth vaping rates among middle school students in Florida decreased by 15.4% between 2018 and 2022
The rate at which high school students were trying e-cigarettes decreased by 29.0% between 2018 and 2022
The rate at which middle school students were trying e-cigarettes decreased by 9.5% between 2018 and 2022
On paid media, the videos generated 337 million+ impressions and 48 million+ video views to Florida’s 1.8 million 13 to 24 year olds over the course of the 2021 fiscal year
Brand awareness of THE FACTS NOW in Florida is 76% among youth and 86% among young adults, higher than The Real Cost and Truth, much better funded, national campaigns. We are punching above our weight with a smaller budget.
While we have made progress, our fight is not over yet. There is still work to be done.