About

BACKGROUND

Every year, Texans die from tobacco-related diseases. With the goal of reducing this number in future generations, the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) set out to prevent tobacco use and promote cessation among Texans of all ages. To accomplish this, the TDH created the largest public health partnership of its kind in the state, drawing on the expertise of nearly 400 contractors and collaborators. The group includes 12 Texas universities, local public health officials, state, regional and local tobacco-related organizations, physicians and dentists, law enforcement agencies, and advertising and public relations specialists. To date, three advertising and public relations campaigns have been created. The Yes You Can/S’ Puede initiative encourages smokers to quit using tobacco. The Worth It? campaign gives teens the facts about tobacco and asks them a simple question: Is tobacco worth it? The DUCK campaign shows Texas youth just how disgusting and foul tobacco products and their use really are.

TOBACCO IS FOUL, BUT WHY DUCK?

More than 100 Texas teens (ages 11-17) attended a Statewide Tobacco Education Program (STEP) Summit held in Conroe, Texas, in July 2000. After attending workshops on branding, brainstorming and public relations, teens generated more than 2,000 ideas that were narrowed down to 35 possible tobacco prevention campaigns. Together they outlined their strategies, then voted on their favorite concept. This led to the creation of the DUCK and the "Tobacco is Foul" campaign.

For years, the tobacco industry effectively used the cartooned "Joe Camel" to promote its product to teens. The teens countered with the same strategy, using a hip, animated animal icon known as DUCK to attract their peers and change attitudes and behavior about tobacco and its harmful effects. A fun-loving DUCK serving as a spokesperson for teens fighting tobacco use and the big tobacco companies lends itself well to a campaign that does not preach to the younger audience, but instead empowers them to take action, while helping change their attitudes and behavior.

The campaign features Tony Rock (stand-up comedian and brother of Chris Rock), who supplies the voice of the animated DUCK in TV and radio spots. The campaign also includes a Web site, a 7'1" tall DUCK mascot and a mobile television studio known as the DUCK-TV Unit. DUCK-TV allows teens to record on video their thoughts about tobacco use. The collected sound-bytes are then used to create 30-second television spots.

The DUCK campaign has focused its efforts in the Houston and Beaumont/Port Arthur media markets.

RESULTS

The first year of the campaign (Fall 2000) contributed to a 40 percent decrease in tobacco use among middle-school students in Beaumont and Port Arthur. Current numbers indicate a 35 percent decrease in tobacco use among middle-schoolers in the entire East Texas region. The data factors in areas not reached by the DUCK campaign (meaning a potentially greater decrease in those areas that have been exposed to the DUCK).