Rendez-vous 165 - April 30, 2007
Eric Asche: I came to Legacy from advertising agency GSD&M in Austin, Texas. At GSD&M, I served as Account Director, working with the foundation on several advertising campaigns, including Bob Quits, Mary Quits, Great Start®, Circle of Friends®, as well as overall foundation branding efforts.
my time at GSD&M, I also managed several national client brands including:
AT&T, Southwest Airlines, Kinko’s and Wenner Media (Rolling Stone, US
Weekly and Men’s Journal).
Prior to my work at GSD&M, I served as Director of Business Development for YClip, an advertisement tracking firm, where I helped structure software licensing deals with national retailers such as Linens ‘N Things, ULTA and CD Warehouse, in conjunction with financial institutions like Citi and Fleet, to track online advertising back to actual sales.
Q1. Since its creation Legacy has been producing TV ads -with the same advertising partners I believe?-. Can you tell us about this partnership and the evolution of the TV ads (how many?) from the beginning until now? How much have the themes and styles changed (or not)?
Eric Asche: Legacy always strives to create advertising that will resonate with our target demographic—sensation seeking youth or adult smokers, depending on the campaign. For the truth® ads, our branding has remained consistent, but we want our tactics to evolve along with youth trends. For example, with the most recent truth® campaigns we have partnered with social networking sites like Myspace, Bebo and Xanga to ensure our message is delivered through the most relevant channels.
Q2. You have also been working with the Ad Council. Can you explain how this works and tell us about the "Don't pass gas campaign"?
Eric Asche: We partnered with the Ad Council to develop the first public health campaign to educate Americans about the dangers of secondhand smoke. Don’t Pass Gas is a national public service advertising (PSA) campaign that uses humor to capture the public’s attention about a serious issue – the fact that more than 13 million American children ages 0 to 17 are exposed to the harmful effects of secondhand smoke in their homes.
The Don’t Pass Gas PSAs were first released in January 2005. In November 2006, we released a new wave of ads, directed by Emmy-nominated actor Jason Alexander. The TV PSAs depict people excusing themselves from rooms because they need to “pass gas.”
Q3. Legacy recently launched a campaign in movie theaters. Can you tell us about this strategy and can you explain what a "matching media buy" is?
Eric Asche: truth® aired before films from January to March in the nation’s largest theater chains, including AMC Entertainment, Inc., Cinemark USA, Inc., Regal Entertainment Group and Lowes. Research shows that movies featuring tobacco influence 390,000 new youth to smoke each year. Of this number, a projected 120,000 will later die from smoking. We wanted to use this initiative to reach hundreds of thousands of families with the important messages about tobacco addiction and the consequences of smoking.
Legacy has also partnered with The Weinstein Company to provide a classic truth® campaign ad in some of its DVD releases. DVDs that include the ads include Clerks II, School for Scoundrels, and the Dixie Chick documentary, Shut Up and Sing.
Since research shows that youth are very much affected by what they see in the media, Legacy applauds companies like the National CineMedia and Weinstein for donating airspace for our life-saving message.
Q4.Can you give us some figures about the budgets involved in your media
campaigns? For many agencies it is very difficult to maintain appropriate
funding along the years; is that a concern for the Foundation?
Eric Asche: The budget for truth® which is our national advertising campaign at the moment is about $30 million annually. This is less than what the tobacco industry spends each day on marketing its product according to the most recent FTC figures.
Legacy received in 2003 what is likely its final payment from the National Public Education Fund established by the Master Settlement Agreement. Despite its success, the truth® campaign now faces an unprecedented funding challenge. Youth smoking rates are at historic lows. Without truth® this decline could end or even reverse itself. If truth® dies it won’t die alone.
With Legacy’s declining funding in this David versus Goliath battle, we need to ensure truth® stays innovative, relevant and resourceful in how we reach our nation’s youth to keep them from smoking. Harnessing the power of technologies popular with teens is one way to do this.
Q5. The singing cow boy ad has been posted on YouTube where it has been viewed by 100K+ visitors. Other Legacy ads are available but not all of them. Would you consider making available on YouTube and/or other services (including the Globalink's Multimedia Center) all the TV ads produced by Legacy? Many Agencies don't do it because of the talent fees: is that an issue for you? Is the development of video-viewing on line and viral marketing having an impact on your media campaigns?
While we are flattered that our teen audience has uploaded
our media onto user generated sites such as YouTube , we do not actively place
our spots on those sites. As a non profit organization we do not have the funds
to pay for talent fees associated with showing our spots on those types of
sites. Yes, viral marketing is having a positive effect on our efforts. In our
last campaign, Infect truth®, we had a tremendous success with
two of our viral microsites hairy-mail.com (in which users could send an email
written in back hair) and singingcowpoke.com (in which users could send a viral
voice message to one another through the sounds of an electrolarynx). We plan
to roll out additional viral marketing tools with the new truth® documentary campaign. We’ve also seen an increase in
participation by the viewers through parodies of our spots on YouTube.
Q6.Tobacco Control is a worldwide global fight. Is there an international component in Legacy's activities? Did you receive requests from outside the US to use your TV ads?
Eric Asche: Per the Master Settlement Agreement, Legacy’s focus is only
on smoking in the United States.
Q7. Is there anything else you would like to add?
Eric Asche: I love your site!
Thank you Eric for having taken the time to be with us today.