The FDA has launched a national public education campaign called “Fresh Empire” to prevent and reduce tobacco use among multicultural youth who identify with the hip-hop peer crowd, according to an agency press announcement.
This group of young people is “often hard to reach and frequently exposed to pro-tobacco images and messages,” the FDA said. “While multicultural teens identify with more than one group, the FDA is focusing on those in the hip-hop peer crowd because research estimates that they are more likely to use tobacco than other youth.”
The “Fresh Empire” campaign, which targets youth ages 12-17, works to associate living tobacco free with a hip-hop lifestyle through a variety of interactive marketing strategies, including the use of traditional paid media, engagement through multiple digital platforms, and outreach at the local level. The ads, and particularly the local events, feature community influencers who reinforce that tobacco use is not a part of the hip-hop lifestyle. The ads will air nationally for the first time in conjunction with the 2015 BET Hip-Hop Awards on October 13.
“We know from our research that remaining in control is an important pillar of hip-hop culture. But smoking represents a loss of control, so tobacco use is actually in conflict with that priority,” said Mitch Zeller, director of the FDA’s Center for Tobacco Products. “The ‘Fresh Empire’ campaign underscores that important message to hip-hop youth, empowering this at-risk peer crowd to live tobacco free.”
The “Fresh Empire” campaign will launch the week of October 12 in approximately 36 markets throughout the United States for at least 24 months. The $128 million campaign is funded by tobacco user fees.