truth Campaign

Moving 67,000 teens to action with mobile marketing

Truth Initiative®, the national public health organization that directs and funds truth, used SMS, email, and social messaging to empower teens to speak out against tobacco products for sale in drugstores’ chains.

Dionisios “Dio” Favatas

“With help from Beaconfire RED, truth has been able to reach thousands of teens across digital channels, activating them to push the movement to end smoking forward.”

Dionisios “Dio” Favatas
Managing Director of Digital
Truth Initiative

Envisioning a future without tobacco

truth, one of the largest and most successful national youth tobacco-prevention campaigns, has been working since 2000 to educate youth by giving teens facts to make their own informed choices about tobacco use and inspire them to use their social influence and creativity in the fight against tobacco. With Beaconfire RED’s help in direct marketing and web technology strategy and execution since 2014, truth has helped bring down teen cigarette use from 23 percent in 2000 to 6 percent in 2016.


Increased engagement through targeted outreach

Walgreens is one of the major U.S. drugstore chains that still sells cigarettes and one of the largest pharmacy chains in the U.S. truth collaborated with Beaconfire RED on a multi-step program to bring attention to the issue of tobacco sales in Walgreens pharmacies and to foster action to petition for the banning of tobacco sales through a campaign named “Not Happy or Healthy.” The program included the following activities: First, truth informed their engaged teen activists about the issue of cigarette sales in Walgreens’ pharmacy chains. Second, truth provided a way for their young activists to do something about it featuring the #NOTHAPPYORHEALTHY hashtag. A petition on called for Walgreens to end the sale of tobacco products in all their stores. Third, to spread the word about the petition, Beaconfire RED executed strategies across the truth digital channels including: SMS, email, and

truth set a goal for the petition to get 1,000 signatures. The petition surpassed that goal within the first hour of going live. SMS drove 55 percent of participation—more than email marketing and social media combined—with a targeting strategy based on a teen’s engagement with the petition.

Lastly, truth empowered young activists to speak directly to Walgreens. truth provided an online toolkit for activists to make their voices heard during a Walgreens shareholder meeting. Beaconfire RED used SMS and email to promote the digital toolkit, which included social media messages, graphics, and a phone script for those who called into the meeting. Dozens of truth activists showed up to protest the Walgreens shareholder meeting in person in New York City.



In the end, the petition collected over 5,300 youth names and engaged more than 67,000 young activists in the “Not Happy or Healthy” campaign. Through efforts like this, Beaconfire RED has influenced the U.S. teen smoking rate, driving it to a record-low 6 percent in 2016. With truth, Beaconfire RED is saving lives by preventing youth smoking.