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From the 2nd Annual Shorty Social Good Awards @ThisFreeLife | a cutting edge, culturally relevant blog for LGBT young adults

Finalist in Blog Presence


This Free Life is the first-ever national tobacco-prevention effort dedicated to reaching LGBT young adults ages 18 to 24. This Free Life is designed to challenge the perception that tobacco use is a necessary part of LGBT culture and to show LGBT young adults they can be the person they want to be and still live tobacco-free. The goal is to affect positive change in knowledge, attitudes, and beliefs that lead to behavior change among LGBT young adults who are occasional smokers.

This Free Life aims to increase perceived risk of tobacco use and increase the importance of living tobacco-free while also aligning tobacco-free benefits with values associated with LGBT young adults. Changing perceived norms requires both increasing perceived pride for tobacco-free lifestyles and increasing perceived rejection of tobacco among LGBT young adults.

At launch, the campaign's initial objectives were:

1. Develop compelling ads with a minimum Perceived Ad Effectiveness (PAE) score of 3.0 out of 5.0 as measured through a multi-market study of 1,061 LGBT young adults with a randomized control group. The PAE score measures an ads ability to change desired attitudes, perceptions, and beliefs among the particular target audience.

2. Establish This Free Life as the foremost LGBT tobacco prevention campaign by leveraging LGBT culture to communicate with LGBT young adults about the harms of tobacco use at the most relevant moments in their day.

3. Drive the audience to deeper messages and experiences by prioritizing interactive engagement online and offline.

Strategy and Execution

The campaign prioritizes active engagement tactics such as events and facilitated social media conversations. These interactive communication experiences ultimately drive behavior change opportunities more effectively than conventional impression and click driven strategies. The best example of active engagement is through the campaign's experiential marketing at local events where audience members have an opportunity to "try on" the brand's promoted behavior through games, quizzes and engagement with brand ambassadors. Additionally, the use of online interactive digital experiences has proven effective tools for promoting positive change among targeted audiences, particularly targeted segments of youth and young adults who are traditionally hard-to-reach.

Tumblr has allowed us to interact on a deeper and more authentic level with our LGBT young adult audience, particularly for our female and transgender subgroups. Unlike other social media platforms, female and transgender users are more prevalent on Tumblr and use it to form communities and engage in thoughtful conversation. Given the platform's immersive web of users creating content that is both engaging and relatable, This Free Life found the shareability of our message to be essential for success in this space. By understanding what our audiences are more likely to share and by utilizing Tumblr's share tools such as notes and reblogs, we can cast a wider and more effective net to reach our target demographic.

To further the campaign's engagement and reach, This Free Life teamed up with three illustrators from Tumblr's Creatr Network. We worked with Tumblr to select artists from within the community who could tailor content that would truly resonate. Each illustrator created content (images and GIFs) for the campaign which conveyed the campaign's messaging in an artistic, authentic, and thought provoking way. After the Creatr Network posts went live, we saw a 20% increase in engagement and our reblogs went from 7% to 9%.

Content that is both relatable and includes recognizable influencers proves to be highly effective in generating engagement on Tumblr. With the launch of our second wave of creative, which featured notable drag queens speaking to the damage tobacco inflicts on your body, we launched our most engaged post with more than 8,000 notes and reblogs.


The brand has established credibility with the LGBT young adults and achieved a high level of engagement with this hard-to-reach audience. Grounded in multiple phases of formative research, the brand values cultural authenticity in both its creative messaging and communications tactics. This dedication to authenticity has generated impressive results and an overall positive sentiment from the target audience. Specifically, This Free Life surpassed its benchmark of 75% reach and 15X frequency quarter over quarter, which is a proven metric of behavior change.

From May 2016 through July 2017, This Free Life has achieved the following KPIs on Tumblr:

● Impressions - 36,570,745

● Likes - 189,650

● Reblogs - 41,962

● Video Views - 961,967

● Video Completions - 114,670

● Clicks - 563,775

● Followers - 8,818

As we've worked through multiple content series through this blog, we've learned more and more about what best resonates and generates the kind of engagement we're looking for. An example of more recent top performing content, one of the post from our "Flawless" series garnered more than 4,000 likes, 6,500 notes, and was shared with 9 degrees of separation from the original post.

The degrees of separation is a KPI that is unique to Tumblr given how they measure the degrees to which a single piece of content gets shared out to new blogs beyond the original source. This type of KPI provides an indicator of successful content that resonated well with the audience and expanded the brand's reach through organic shareability.


Entrant Company / Organization Name

Rescue | The Behavior Change Agency, Food and Drug Administration (FDA) – Center for Tobacco Products (CTP)


Entry Credits