Truth: Cigarettes are bad for you. Truth: People, especially young people, generally resist being told what to do.
Here lies the basic philosophy of the “truth” campaign, an organization that claims its main goal is not to attack smokers, but instead to spread awareness about the manipulative behaviors of the tobacco industry, according to its website www.thetruth.com. Fair enough.
But I’m not so sure “truth” is actually sticking to its philosophy in the way it attempts to deliver its message.
This past Wednesday, “truth” put on a concert at the Bryce Jordan Center, headlining the somewhat popular Cobra Starship. This concert was part of a series the truthLIVE tour, aimed to reach young people at college campuses across the nation. After running into a friend who was a fan of the group back in her middle school days, I decided to check out the concert.
After all, it was free.
After registering for the concert online through Facebook, I decided to check out the organization’s website, where of course I discovered the concert’s aim.
As I walked into the BJC, I was absolutely flabbergasted at the small group bopping rather unenthusiastically to the opening act. Of course, I expected things to pick up as the main attraction got on stage, but even an hour later the crowd was weak.
Truth: A dimly lit, nearly empty BJC is an awkward venue for a concert. But, in addition to the less than optimal atmosphere of the event, I was met with another “truth” that completely turned me off.
Two giant screens on either side of the stage projected a strange series of repetitive images designed as musical visualizers that I can only compare to the hallucinations of a nightmarish acid trip, emphasis on the “nightmarish.”
A few of the images flashing on the screen featured a gyrating body bag, grotesque combinations of animal parts and random objects compiled to create weird cartoon characters, crowds of creepy mannequins and trippy multi colored rats.
Interspersed between songs, short videos were played, also of the same ghoulish style, spewing what I perceived not to be facts about tobacco companies and cigarettes, but instead, in my eyes, straight up propaganda utilizing scare tactics. I truly felt as if I was being brainwashed “1984” style.
The information the videos provided very well may be fact, but the point is, the delivery was a total turn off and weirded me out entirely.
The whole event felt contrived, as if a group of people had sat down to deliberate how to reach young people and falsely assumed that the more trippy and obscure the delivery was, the more we would relate.
My stance is not that big tobacco companies aren’t corrupt or manipulative, but truth be told — business often is.
I don’t think the organization’s aim is bad, and I actually appreciate that their supposed philosophy is not to attack smokers themselves.
My opinion simply is that the organization of “truth” epically failed in trying to cater to its specific audience And it contradicted itself by accompanying the facts with such a weird campaign that blatantly was trying to scare us into becoming “anti-smoker.”
Caroline Fenlin is a freshman majoring in graphic design and is a Daily Collegian columnist. Email her at email@example.com.