The Truth Singing Cowboy on Smoking

The Truth campaign, a youth-focused anti-tobacco education campaign in the United States, has had its ‘Singing Cowboy’ TV ad nominated for most outstanding commercial in the Emmy Awards 2007. A group of cowboys wander through the New York traffic to set up a campfire in Times Square. The cowboy with the white horse (Thomas Cook), an obvious reference to the Marlboro man, removes a bandanna to reveal that he’s had a laryngectomy. His singing, in contrast to the Naked Cowboy, relies on an electronic voicebox, is monotone and straight to the point.

Singing Cowboy in The Truth TV ad

You don’t always die from tobacco
Sometimes you just lose a lung.
You don’t always die from tobacco.
Sometimes they just snip out your tongue.
And you won’t sing worth a heck
With a big hole in your neck
Cause you don’t always die from tobacco.

Click on the image below to play the video.

The Truth TV ad campaign (30 and 60 seconds) is backed up with an online campaign at Visitors can watch a video documenting the Singing Cowboy’s road to laryngectomy, followed by an animation that illustrates what happens when doctors puncture your throat. Online visitors can send their smoking friends a warning with a customized Laryngect-o-gram.

Saddle banner in The Truth tv ad


The Truth Singing Cowboy was developed at Arnold Worldwide and Crispin Porter + Bogusky by chief creative officers Pete Favat and Alex Bogusky, creative directors John Kearse and Tom Adams, art directors Adam Larson, Lee Einhorn, Doug Pedersen, Keith Scott, and copywriters Roger Baldacci, John Kearse, Pete Harvey, Mike Howard, Guy Rooke, Yutaka Tsujino, agency producer Sarah Spitz and assistant producer Mary Donington.

Filming was directed by Nicolai Fuglsig via MJZ with director of photography Joaquin Baca-Asay, and executive producer Kate Sutherland, Lisa Rich and Marcia Deliberto.

Visual effects were developed at Brickyard VFX by Flame Artists Dave Waller, Peter Bullis, VFX producer Brian Drewes and associate producer Dawn Dorland.

Editor was Lawrence Young at Cosmo Street.

Composer was Harry Frost via Sound Lounge. Recording Engineer was Mike Secher at Soundtrack, Boston. Sound was mixed by Scott Persson.