FDA’s Fresh Empire Campaign Uses Hip-Hop to Attract Younger Audience

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    The federal government has teamed up with hip-hop musicians to send a strong message.

    The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is using hip-hop in its latest campaign to reach minority teens to educate and warn them of the consequences of smoking. The campaign is called Fresh Empire and consists of videos with hip-hop dancers, DJs, rappers and beat-boxers.

    One ad features Jayy Starr, who performs a spoken-word piece explaining her grandfather’s battle with lung cancer. Jayy Starr and other artists are helping the FDA to spread a very important message to the youth of this generation.

    “They’re helping us seed the notion that you can be hip-hop and tobacco-free,” said the FDA’s Kathy Crosby. “We went into different communities and found these up-and-coming dancers, up-and-coming rappers, up-and-coming DJs that are really role models within their community.”

    According to NPR, the ads began last fall with a feature in the BET Hip-Hop Awards, then moved on to hip-hop concerts and other events like the Hot 107.9 Birthday Bash in Atlanta and even the San Francisco Bay Area’s SneakerCon.

    Typically, advertisers look to social media to get their message heard; for instance, marketers see roughly 65% of their ad revenue come from mobile tablets and smartphones. However, the FDA is choosing a different approach with its public service announcements that is more focused on reaching young internet users rather selling them a product or service.

    It would not be a surprise if the FDA decided to incorporate social media into its campaign due to the recent improvements in advertising Facebook has made. Facebook just announced that it has made some updates to its mobile ad products including allowing marketers to customize their audiences on the ad network. The FDA could use this to their advantage for future advertising for the Fresh Empire campaign.

    “As mobile commerce grows, Facebook is putting together a strong package of advertising products to help marketers re-target their customers and potential customers, in near real time,” said Debra Aho Williamson, principal analyst at eMarketer.