The DUCK Texas web site and campaign is one component of tobacco prevention media efforts developed for the Texas Tobacco Prevention Initiative. 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 change their peers' attitudes 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 on 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.
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.
Worth It? is the public education campaign aimed at educating teens about the Texas Tobacco Law (see Senate Bill 55) and its consequences. The law states that anyone under 18 caught purchasing, possessing or using tobacco products may have to pay up to a $250 fine, attend a tobacco awareness class, be required to do community service, or even lose their driver's license for a period of time.
The idea behind the campaign is to be honest with teens and give them the facts about tobacco use in ways that are relevant to their daily lives. It asks the question: is tobacco use really worth it? The campaign empowers teens to weigh all the potential consequences and decide for themselves.
The Worth It? web site include facts about tobacco use, cessation information for teens who want to quit, tobacco-related news and events, interactive games and activities, and a statewide listing of instructors for tobacco awareness classes.