Target Market (TM) is social marketing at its best:  The integrated campaign sets clear objectives, brings multiple marketing disciplines to bear on its target audience and achieves unprecedented results.  It halts and then reverses the upward trend in teen smoking, effectively attacking a public health menace that has baffled marketers and public health experts for decades.  It does this through relentless, year-round, full-court-press advertising and activities designed to empower teens at every turn with messages that are delivered by credible messengers - teens themselves.  


Today's anthem:  You Target Us:  Now We Target You.




Our research helped define our target audience of 12-17-year-olds and set campaign strategy.   At the campaign's outset, via a statewide telephone survey, we measured teen awareness, attitudes and behavior as they related to tobacco use, anti-tobacco campaigns, and the tobacco industry.  We used those findings as a baseline on which to build the campaign's objectives and strategy.  This quantitative research was complemented by eight focus groups, which further probed teens' views.  We also studied other states' anti-tobacco campaigns in an effort to learn what worked and conducted 21 interviews with tobacco-control allies.




Planning, which culminated in a comprehensive strategic document, included extensive teen involvement.  The Target Market membership was represented by various committees, including a teen PR and advertising committee that met regularly to offer input and help plan programs and activities.

The primary objectives of our client were clear:


  1. Raise awareness among teens about tobacco industry manipulation and Target Market
  2. Influence teen attitudes about tobacco use, the tobacco industry and Target Market (as attitudes are an important precursor to behavior change)
  3. Change teen behavior as it relates to tobacco use - reduce teen smoking         

  Our strategic approach included the following:

  1. Build a statewide movement of Minnesota teens to take on the tobacco industry
  2. Generate broad and extensive media coverage
  3. Reach teens where they live, work and hang out
  4. Involve teens from throughout Minnesota

The 2001-2002 campaign budget for all elements, including advertising was $12,000,000.




Our strategic approach to meet these objectives was a youth-led, adult-guided movement, based on tobacco industry manipulation, to fuel natural teen rebelliousness and imitate the successful marketing tactics of the tobacco industry itself.   Integrated communications tactics include:



Kick Ash Bash  - This non-traditional youth summit, featuring MTV stars, tobacco industry insider Jeffrey Wigand and teen-facilitated breakout sessions, served to mobilize 400 new anti-tobacco soldiers and energize our base of teens.


Rip It Out - This promotion provided teens with salient examples of how the tobacco industry continues to target them.  We asked teens to rip out cigarette ads from their favorite magazines and turn the ads in for free Target Market gear.  Teachers were provided with a "Rip It Out" kit with which to conduct the campaign in schools and promote it locally.  In all, 35,000 ads were collected from more than 100 participating schools.  The ads were used to create a giant mural that was displayed on the steps of the state Capitol.

TMX - Taking a page from the tobacco industry's playbook, we aligned with an extremely popular teen activity - extreme sports, specifically aggressive inline skating, skateboarding and BMX biking - to further build the TM brand.  We created an eight-stop event tour where local amateur athletes competed for cash and prizes.  We paired that with a 20-stop demo tour that brought young professional extreme sports athletes to locations such as concerts and fairs where they set up their own Target Market-branded ramp to perform.


Advertising - Driving brand awareness for the campaign were the third and fourth installments of TM ads, featuring Target Market members in action.  Ads aired on teen networks including MTV and Fox and at TM events statewide.


Document Tour - We had the 33 million pieces of evidence proving the tobacco industry targeted teens and needed a way to bring them to life.  Our answer:  the Target Market Document Tour.  This featured a 48-foot semi-trailer, the inside of which was outfitted to resemble a back alley.  The documents were displayed next to current examples of how the document directive is realized.  Teens were treated to a dynamic 20-minute assembly presentation prior to touring the Document Truck.  The exhibit was highly interactive, inviting teens to email, videotape or graffiti a message to Big Tobacco.  In all, the Document Tour made 82 daylong stops and was popular with students and teachers alike.  Its first tour in the fall of 2000 was followed by tours in the spring and fall of 2001, due to demand from schools and the public health community.


TM Cruisers - This take on a statewide mobile tour was yet another way to bring the Target Market excitement and messaging to teens.  There were two TM Cruisers - 16-foot panel trucks colorfully decked out with the TM logo.  They made stops at hundreds of teen hot spots (e.g., beaches, concerts, county fairs) over the summer.  Each crusier was equipped with a retro teen lounge featuring a sound system blasting teen hits, video games, a touch-screen quiz about tobacco industry manipulation and loads of free TM gear.  Interactive kiosks enabled teens to send a personal message to Big Tobacco and sign up to be a member of Target Market. - The dynamic, interactive TM Web site proved to be the true voice of the movement, logging 600,000 hits each month and an exceptionally long average visit of 19 minutes.  Teens engaged in lively online discussions on the site's bulletin board, participated in regular contests to win prizes, reached out to other teens in their area and offered input on various TM programs and activities.


TMCD/Band Tour - Once again we looked to Big Tobacco and noted the industry's fondness for aligning with music to reach its target.  Not to be outdone, we worked with TM teens to create a compilation CD featuring emerging Minnesota bands and then to take the bands on a statewide tour.  We produced and distributed 25,000 TMCDs, which featured a teen-designed cover and liner notes detailing the extent of tobacco industry manipulation.  Tour stops were well attended and were a great forum at which to deliver the TM message and distribute free TM gear.


Manipulation 101 - This tool gave teens the means to discuss TM and tobacco industry manipulation with their peers through a sophisticated presentation that could be delivered in a classroom or in any organized setting.  We provided teens with a binder complete with a CD Rom PowerPoint presentation, overheads, slides and a discussion guide.  More than 200 Manipulation 101 presentations were delivered by teens statewide.


TM Unfiltered - Dismayed at local entertainment tabloids' heavy reliance on tobacco advertising, TM partnered with a local alternative newspaper and created its own publication, which it distributed to its 40,000 members and other teens via record stores, coffee shops and popular teen retailers.  In addition to entertainment news, the publication featured teen-authored stories on tobacco industry manipulation and the activities of TM.


Minnesota State Fair - This event, which draws 1.5 million visitors, tops TM's list of summer events.  We navigated the State Fair bureaucracy and scored a spot for the TM booth on a high-traffic corner near the Fair's Grandstand.  The booth featured a blaring sound system, tons of TM collateral and gear, contests and a large, visible ticker board that detailed tobacco industry evils for curious passers-by.


Media Relations - Not a single program was executed without its own comprehensive media relations effort.  We made the important strategic decision to position teens as TM spokespeople, which necessitated thorough spokesperson preparation.  Teens leading press conferences and serving as spokespeople proved highly enticing to the media as evidenced by the thousands of clips and millions of media impressions.


Gear - Countless free TM gear items - ranging from the tiny "punk pin" to the hefty hooded sweatshirt - were distributed over the course of the campaign to turn teens into walking billboards for the movement.  Extensive research went into gear selection and it paid off:  TM gear won rave reviews and proved to be hot apparel among teens.  




Employing the same instrument used in the baseline research, we conducted a phone survey of more than 1,000 Minnesota teens (a statistically valid sample) and found at the one-year point, the Target Market campaign accomplished precisely what it was designed to do:


·        25 percent fewer Minnesota teens are using tobacco.
  • 87 percent of teens know the Target Market brand.
  • 93 percent are aware of tobacco industry manipulation.
  • 68 percent of teens report the Target Market campaign makes them feel inspired and empowered to fight back.


Additional results include:

  • 40,000 teens signed on as members of Target Market, a number that is six times our 18-month goal.  Teen members of Target Market take the campaign message to their peers, immeasurably expanding the reach, credibility and impact of the campaign.
  • More than 14 million media impressions were generated with teens as the messengers whenever possible.
  • TM events and tour stops were held in all of Minnesota's 87 counties, totaling 425 events in 173 cities.
  • registered 6 million hits in its first year with an average site vist of 15 minutes.

  The Minnesota Commissioner of Health commented at a press conference on the campaign results that TM represents "the first good news in a decade" about teen tobacco use