Issue Communications

Clearing the Air

With the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids


01 / Background

Every year, tobacco kills more than 480,000 Americans and nearly six million people worldwide. The majority started smoking as children. Since 2000, GMMB has worked with the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids (CTFK), helping them communicate proven strategies that prevent kids from smoking, help smokers quit, and protect everyone from secondhand smoke, including enacting higher tobacco taxes, comprehensive smoke-free air laws, and tobacco prevention programs.

2000 - present
Advertising / Brand Strategy / Creative Content / Digital / Movement Building / Public Relations

02 / Strategy

Based on in-depth research with consumers and policymakers, GMMB found that 9 in 10 adult smokers started as kids, yet research shows the more cigarettes cost, the less people smoke—especially kids. GMMB built a strategy around these findings and developed key messages and creative to drive home the point that every day 2,000 kids get hooked on tobacco and that higher costs per pack could result in a lower number of kids lighting up.

For our work focusing on secondhand smoke, the messaging needed to be a little different, encompassing the effects on the broader population, not just kids. Through research, we found the strongest message was “Everyone has the right to breathe clean air,” which worked to argue for comprehensive smoke-free air laws in restaurants and bars where workers were exposed to deadly chemicals daily as part of their jobs.

But good messaging is nothing if it doesn’t reach its targets. Given the tobacco company’s massive monetary advantage, GMMB has needed to approach our media buying for CTFK in a way that constantly maximizes advertising dollars by being strategic, tactical, and smart.


03 / Work

GMMB has developed print, digital, radio, outdoor, and television advertising for CTFK, placing ads in key markets advocating for legislation to increase tobacco taxes, enact comprehensive smoke-free air laws and fully funding tobacco prevention programs. But we recognize that advertising alone is not nearly as effective as an integrated communications campaign that surrounds the audience with consistent messaging. Therefore, our national and state advertising efforts are consistently coordinated with the CTFK’s public policy, media outreach and public relations tactics to remind opinion leaders that the tobacco industry continues to market to children, deceive the public about the dangers of its products and attempt to obtain special protection from Congress.


04 / Results

We’ve helped CTFK achieve some big wins over the years, and quite simply, we couldn’t be prouder of the work we’ve done together and the results we’ve achieved. Since 2000, GMMB advertising helped pass 46 statewide tobacco tax increases, bringing the national average to $1.60 per cigarette pack. We’ve developed successful campaigns that helped pass smoke-free air laws across the country, in 30 states and hundreds of cities and counties nationwide. And following more than a decade of working tirelessly alongside CTFK and its public health allies, FDA regulation of tobacco finally passed Congress and is now the law of the land.