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Special Project

Special Project
From the 3rd Annual Shorty Social Good Awards

Love, Me | Video Series from This Free Life

Entered in LGBTQ+


This Free Life is the first-ever national tobacco-prevention effort targeting LGBT young adults ages 18 to 24. The campaign challenges the perception that tobacco is a normal part of LGBT culture, and aims to show LGBT young adults they can be the person they want to be and still live tobacco-free. The campaign aims to increase perceived risk of tobacco use while also aligning tobacco-free benefits with LGBT young adults' values. Changing perceived norms requires both increasing perceived pride for tobacco-free lifestyles and increasing perceived rejection of tobacco among LGBT young adults.

Before launch, the campaign conducted formative research and a thorough literature review to inform strategy and messaging. Two key insights were that LGBT young adults have experienced difficulties because of their sexuality / gender identity, and they are proud of who they are.

Most TFL content contains upbeat music, bright colors, and high energy. Our previous videos reflect the vibrancy of our audience's lives, but This Free Life wanted to create a series that taps into our key insights (experienced difficulties and proud identity) with a more emotionally significant and contemplative tone.

Love, Me is four videos with emotional and empowering messages of staying non-toxic when times get tough. Authenticity is key; each video features a real LGBT talent proudly discussing their personal struggles to their younger self.

Pulling at the audience's heartstrings allows the brand to connect in a meaningful way and shed light on the negative impact of tobacco.

Strategy and Execution

About 2 million young adults in the U.S. today identify as LGBT. This population is more than twice as likely to use tobacco as their non-LGBT counterparts. This Free Life aims to increase pride for living tobacco-free by delivering messages on the risks of tobacco use. Most campaign messaging is celebratory and upbeat, which is why TFL wanted to craft videos that touch on the emotional hardships of real people in our audience. TFL uses a range of integrated marketing tactics, including print, out-of-home, digital ads, local events, and social media. Most campaign content is celebratory and upbeat,

Prior to launch, FDA conducted 34 diverse focus groups among 140 LGBT 18-24 non-daily smoker participants. Insights from the focus groups—along with extensive literature reviews—were used to inform development of relatable messaging. Two key insights were:

1. LGBT young adults have experienced difficulties in their lives because of their sexuality and gender identity.

2. LGBT young adults are proud of who they are, including their sexuality and gender identity.

Love, Me took the form of four long-form videos of LGBT individuals speaking to their younger selves and four long-form interviews of each talent talking about their personal struggles. Each video discussed authentic, relatable struggles within the LGBT community—and the pride in resilience. The Love, Me videos are unique in their tone. The strategy was to approach our audience with a more contemplative tone, and highlight a diverse group of real LGBT young people. By crafting videos that lean into our key audience insights, TFL created a unique and compelling video series that our audience responded to positively. Love, Me videos were featured on and ran on paid social ads, digital banners, and owned organic content on Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter.

Each of the four talent are real LGBT community members speaking candidly about protecting their lives from toxicity:

● Lila is a spoken word poet, and her passionate voiceover acknowledges the difficult years and explores her journey of self-acceptance.

● Chloe is a synchronized swimmer. She gently encourages her younger self to "Listen to your body...Protect it from the damage smoking can cause."

● Kentrell is a majorette dancer. As he dances, his voiceover to his younger self reads, "While I can't stop others from trying to hurt you, you will learn to never harm yourself."

● Rob is a professional strongman, and he asks his younger self to protect his body from anything toxic, including tobacco. His words of encouragement to his younger self sum up the tender, encouraging tone of Love, Me:

"You will drop those toxic thoughts that held you back. You will strengthen your body, and protect it from anything that's gonna cause damage, including smoking."


The Love, Me series will be in market for five months starting April 2018. So far, the Love, Me page of the TFL site has received 41K+ visitors. The videos have received 160K+ views and generated 7K+ engagements across owned social channels (and gaining):

○ Facebook - 3,658 Reactions, 137,000 Views

○ Instagram - 2,731 Likes, 7,619 Views

○ Twitter - 223 Likes, 14,943 Views

○ YouTube - 124 Likes, 5,387 Views

Several Love, Me talent shared content to their personal channels, amplifying the brand and sharing the tobacco-free message to their collective 66K followers.

These metrics signal interest from our audience toward the uplifting messaging of Love, Me, but they can't capture the success of qualitative user engagement. Comments left by users on Kentrell's spot demonstrate how strongly the content resonates:

● "I dont know why I'm crying in the club rn" -- @pan.prisl

● "You guys have inspired me so much I have no words or express except yas queen you guys slay my life." --

● "Stuff like this has actually helped me stop smoking, so I guess this is a thank you" -- @_plastic__beach_

TFL responded: "Congratulations, that's so great to hear! If you ever need more resources on quitting, feel free to check out our site" Meaningful content like Love, Me can lead to open-ended discussion with our users.

Across channels, Love, Me is igniting a positive conversation around living proudly LGBT, acknowledging the difficulties our audience faces, and staying tobacco-free.


Video for Love, Me | Video Series from This Free Life

Entrant Company / Organization Name

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


Entry Credits