Anti-Smoking Campaign Hits Up Music Site for Social Media Outreach

  |  June 29, 2009   |  Comments

The Truth, a public health organization, worked with Imeen to promote a live concert and develop a shareable online playlist.

The anti-smoking Truth campaign has turned to ad-supported music site Imeem for its most extensive social media effort thus far, a multi-band concert that was streamed live on the site following a month of interactive promotions.

The concept behind the free concert, called "Truth's Live Playlist," was to bring young teenagers -- the anti-tobacco group's primary audience -- a tailor-made concert consisting of the bands they would put on their own playlist. Bands appearing at the Knitting Factory in Los Angeles at the June 24 concert were Escape The Fate, Sing It Loud, I Set My Friends On Fire, and The Blackout.

"In order for us to stay relevant we have to partner with sites like Imeem," Nicole Dorrler, senior director of marketing at Truth, said. "Music is a powerful way to connect with fickle teens, and Imeem has a powerful connection with that audience."

On a branded Truth page, which went live June 1, people could learn how to get tickets to the free show, enter a contest to interview members of the bands, win a free Flip phone and, eventually, stream the concert live. The page also allows users to create and share Truth-branded playlists, videos, and messages. Several times throughout the month, the campaign took over Imeem's home page.

"We really wanted to activate elements that were not only just musical, but that brought the artists themselves into the program," David Wade, VP of national advertising for Imeem, said, referring to the opportunity for fans to interview the band themselves. "We want to have the brand feel like they're presenting an opportunity to connect with the artists fans care about."

All 1,000 tickets to the concert were delivered via text message to fans who called to "RSVP," and during the concert attendees could send texts that were displayed on a jumbo screen via the Text-to-Screen engagement tool provided by Mozes, a mobile marketing platform.

Truth's anti-tobacco message isn't always explicit in the campaign -- three of the four bands at the concert reportedly didn't say anything about Truth or Big Tobacco during their sets, and there is certainly nothing inherently anti-smoking about a rock concert. But anyone attending the concert, watching it on Imeem or engaging in any of the digital promos were exposed to Truth branding. The video viewer itself has Truth elements that are visible throughout the concert, and in between bands, a screen onstage played Truth commercials. Truth set up booths at the concert where fans could sign a petition to re-name lung cancer "Big Tobacco Disease."

"We try just to provide facts and information to teens and allow them to make their own decisions, Dorrler said. "We try not to be what I call adulterated. We want to be more about coolness and the music factor than talking about goals"

Wade said it was too early to determine how many people streamed the concert live, but he said nearly 4,500 people requested tickets to the 1,000-person venue.

Videos created by the fans who won the opportunity to interview the bands will soon be posted to Truth's Imeem page, as will the concert itself. Dorrler also said those videos would be uploaded to Truth's various social media pages, where users will be able to share them. The Truth Imeem page will stay up indefinitely for users who want to relive the concert or continue making playlists.

Truth will run homepage takeovers on Imeem once a week in July, according to an Imeem spokeswoman.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Douglas Quenqua is a journalist based in Brooklyn, NY who writes about culture and technology. His work has appeared in The New York Times, Wired, The New York Observer, and Fortune.

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