Tobacco. Reality. Unfiltered.


The State of North Carolina established the N.C. Health & Wellness Trust Fund Commission to oversee the state’s efforts in tobacco prevention, obesity awareness, senior prescription drug programs, and other important health care concerns. The commission selected Group3 Communications to deliver a one-year, $1.1 million campaign to advance teen tobacco cessation.

Our challenge was to develop and launch a strong campaign brand that would speak to teens ages 11-17. Group3 began by interviewing key stakeholders; reviewing existing tobacco-related research; and conducting teen focus groups among white, African-American, Hispanic and American Indian populations statewide.

The “Tobacco. Reality. Unfiltered.” brand – “TRU,” as it became known – was created and focus-group tested. It resonated with teens because of its “MTV-like” letters, bold colors, and simple message. The campaign was comprised of compelling advertising for print and radio, website, posters, brochures and promotional giveaways. In addition, our team handled the public relations aspect of the campaign and delivered a toolkit to support the cessation program’s 28 grant recipients – schools and nonprofits across the state that would be implementing a grassroots initiative.

The TRU campaign brand promised to tell the real truth about the risks of using tobacco, and the messages supported that promise. The radio spots, posters and other materials told stories of teens who have experienced the harsh realities and consequences of tobacco use. The emotional quality of the creative drew considerable favorable attention and elicited a strong sense of self-identity among the target audience.