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Company: American Legacy Foundation
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Brand: Truth
Ad Title: Project SCUM
Business Category: Health Organizations
Media Outlets: Television
Country: United States
Region: North America
Agency: Crispin, Porter + Bogusky
Year: 2002
Target: Mainstream
Ad Spotter: Warren Wilson
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"This is my friend Donald," says a bearded young man, who pulls back an orange curtain to reveal an older, slovenly black man holding a piece of paper. The man reads, "According to recently uncovered documents, a well known tobacco company planned on boosting sales of cigarettes in the mid-90s by specifically targeting gays and homeless people. What did they call the little plan? Project Subculture Urban Marketing -- also known as Project SCUM. But I'm sure they meant that in a good way. "

This example from the $116 million annual "truth" campaign, part of the Orange Curtain ad series, aired widely on BET, MTV, MTV2 and WB. The campaign, launched in February 2000, is the largest national smoking prevention campaign for youth ever conducted. Notes Dr. Cheryl Healton, president and CEO of the American Legacy Foundation, "The American Legacy Foundation is the first national philanthropy to identify the GLBT community as a priority population for countering the tobacco industry's marketing efforts."


Simon , Dallas, TX
The Truth campaign is obviously trying to associate smoking with being gay and/or homeless as a way to dissuade straight smokers and non-smokers from ever taking the habit. Worst of all, they're basically saying that if you smoke, you're probably a disgusting homeless queer. I'm very offended by this campaign, but I'm not surprised. A lot of us gays smoke. We shouldn't be discriminated against for our habit. It's our bodies, our choices.

John , London, England

As a pretty fervent anti-smoker, I was well aware of the concentration of "Big Tobacco" on target markets on third world and less educated customers - smoking is stupid, right?

But I never before really associated the popularity of smoking on the gay scene with direct targeting ... I'd always assumed it was collective nervousness and vanity and wanting to be 'one of the boys' that made so many dumb queens take it up (!) - the habit, I mean.

I actually have to admire Big Tobacco for spotting the niche.

Sam , Oroville, CA
Ok, some people who've seen this ad obviously didn't get it. The first guy bags on the Truth campaign while the second guy actually congratulates Big Tobacco?

What the ad is trying to point out is that it is WRONG for Tobacco companies to target gays and homeless people with a project called "Project SCUM". The ad is right on, as are, as of yet, all Truth ads.


The Marlboro Man Is 'The Ultimate Stud'
Company: American Legacy Foundation
Brand: American Legacy Foundation
Country: United States
Region: North America, US Regional
Year: 2003


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