Truth Initiative

Inspiring tobacco-free lives

Repositioning one of America's largest nonprofit public health organizations


The American Legacy Foundation—a national public health organization dedicated to eradicating smoking in youth and young adults—was established and funded following the 1998 Master Settlement Agreement between the Big Tobacco industry and the attorney generals from 46 states and five U.S. territories. Long an advocate and ally to anti-smoking groups around the nation, their most widely known and successful prevention program is the award-winning truth® Campaign.


The truth® Campaign achieved tremendous impact and recognition, successfully connecting with a Gen Y audience using an assertive and irreverent tone. But the organization recognized that speaking to Millennials required a fresh voice, a revamped branding strategy and a strengthened organizational brand that would enhance its mission to end youth smoking.


To understand how to reposition and unite a single organization that was seen as two entities, our teams conducted in-depth, proprietary quantitative and qualitative research to assess the position of Legacy against its peers across the market. Our analysis revealed that Legacy’s potential was much bigger than abolishing smoking nationwide, and the organization had broader capabilities and success in the field of youth marketing and behavioral change. We determined that the truth® brand had significant equity in tobacco control that stretched beyond its intended youth audience and could support a broader narrative and mandate. Though they were traditionally kept separate, the main takeaway of the research: there were substantial benefits in uniting the organizational healthcare brand—Legacy—with the campaign brand—truth®.


Within our research, we market-tested many names that could preserve the equity from both the truth® campaign and that of the Legacy foundation. After qualifying all possible names, our expert namers developed “Truth Initiative,” with the accompanying tagline, “Inspiring tobacco-free lives.” The name and message resonates with a generation of optimistic and forward-looking young people seeking to take action in the fight against tobacco.


From there, we developed unique messaging and healthcare branding strategy, voice and a comprehensive visual identity in conjunction with the new name. We designed an instantly iconic symbol to signal this new brand that drew equity from the truth campaign wordmark. By leveraging their signature orange circular form from the truth campaign ads, we developed a confident and contemporary visual presence that translates seamlessly across print, environmental and digital brand touchpoints.


Ultimately, the new branding strategy creates greater cohesion around a central idea, clearly conveying the purpose and promise of the organization, rallying people and communities across generations to take initiative and become the generation that ends smoking.



Along with a new name and story, we designed an iconic symbol,
drawing equity from the truth campaign wordmark, the identity infuses
key aspects of the campaign into the organizational brand. Orange was
leveraged as a signature color to further link the organization to the campaign.

The new identity system builds upon the symbol’s foundation form of a
circle, providing a confident and contemporary visual presence in print,
environmental and digital applications.


Since unveiling their new, unified brand, the Truth Initiative has seen a continued reduction in youth smoking across the nation. 2014 research reported that youth smoking had reached its lowest levels in 22 years.

Truth Initiative is our next chapter as a tobacco control leader. By changing our name to Truth Initiative and adding our new tagline–Inspiring Tobacco-Free Lives–we are building on what we are best known for to gain better visibility and clearly communicate all that we do.

Robin Koval, (Former) CEO + President, Truth Initiative