Smoking – “Finish It”


It’s hard to believe, but it has been 14 years since the first significant antismoking campaign – “Truth” – launched in 2000. In the classic video, young people pull up to the Philip Morris headquarters in New York and dump out 1,200 body bags – one for each person who died daily as a results of tobacco smoking.

It was a stunning commercial, and a very effective one. In a research study published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, the “Truth” campaign has been attributed with preventing 450,000 teens from smoking. Today, 9% of teens smoke, down from 23% in 2000. That’s a big impact for a public service campaign.

The new campaign is called “Finish it” and it launched this week in video and social media. The campaign wants teenagers to superimpose a campaign logo onto their profile pictures to help spread the message. The campaign’s goal is lofty and worthy – to have 0% of teenagers smoking.

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Discuss social responsibility in marketing.
  2. Poll students about public service campaigns. What is memorable, why, and did it change behavior? (ex: drunk driving, texting while driving, seat belts, etc.)
  3. Show the original “Truth” video:

  1. Show the new “Finish It” video:

  1. Divide students into teams and have team analyze the two commercials for messages, target market, effectiveness, etc.
  2. Next, have each team select a social responsibility topic and design a campaign to reach the audience and educate them about the topic.

Source: New York Times

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