Post B: The truth About Tobacco

By Catherine Nguyen


Truth campaign (YouWorkForThem 2015)

Oftentimes, the anti-smoking advertisements we encounter on television are the ones who have been ‘thoughtfully’ decisive on our behalf, pushing heavily for us to ‘just say no’ because smoking is bad. Smoking is bad. It’s a well-known fact. But in order to work towards solving an issue, we need to directly address it from its roots, rather than working from its ends. We need to know about its origins, about the industry behind this dirty, deadly trade.

‘truth’ is a tobacco countermarking campaign which has claimed success in preventing and educating youths about the ‘big tobacco’s lies and manipulation’ (Truth, n.d.). Their target audience is primarily focused upon the vulnerable age group of 12-17 year olds, in which they promote their content through ‘edgy TV advertisements, radio advertisements, social media as well as hosting annual tours (Allen et al. 2010). Initially created in 1998 to campaign in Florida, its proven success had led to its development on a nationwide scale in 2000, by the American Legacy Foundation (Niederdeppe et al. 2004).

Whilst ‘truth’ seeks to reveal the honest facts surrounding the addictiveness, number of deaths and diseases attributed to smoking, its harmful ingredients and the industry’s deceptive marketing strategies utilising ‘fast paced’ and ‘hard edged’ communicative techniques, (Allen et al. 2010) they refuse to enforce and preach their opinions decisions on the viewer. Instead, it is up to the youths to understand, learn and ultimately make their own right choice. The campaign also features youth spokespeople who relate to the stereotypical image of a smoker: rebellious, independent and risk taking, in attempt to change the norms about not smoking.


One of truth's short films, warning about the dangers of smoking (truthorange 2017)

With their intended market to be targeted towards youths, their method of conveying the ‘truths’ in a more digestible, quirky and humorous manner can be understood as an effective method to capture attention whilst simultaneously communicating the knowledge that is carefully designed to influence beliefs and attitudes about tobacco.

Their ability to create a variety of ‘turbo charging’ content to appeal to different ‘sub-groups’ under the youth umbrella is certainly a powerful and successful game plan, with studies and surveys conducted along the path of truth’s journey revealing the increase in youth awareness and decline in youth addiction. A 2002 study revealed that within the first 9 months of the introduction of the campaign, 75% of the 12-17 age group nationwide were able to accurately describe at least 1 truth ad. Although its regular exposure had been proven to reach their intended group, by 2007, it was revealed that 70% of the ‘truth’ media purchase was moved from networked television to the cable alternate (Allen et al. 2010). This was primarily attributed to the reduction of funds from the MSA, which were their main source of finance- and although this transition may have been more cost effective method, it also meant that youths based in rural areas were unable to access this content. However, to combat this issue they decided to reach out further, by utilising the ever-growing social media as a platform to showcase their content. Their short videos which range from 30 to 60 seconds on average are posted regularly on their YouTube channel and range from dynamic, flat graphic styles to a more cartoon-based, or even cinematic approach.

Since 2000, the number of teens smoking have decreased drastically over the years, from 23% to 6% respectively (Truth, n.d.). Although these statistics cannot be entirely accredited to ‘truth’, their role in the anti-tobacco campaigning sector is undoubtedly applaudable. Their success is said to be as a result of 3 key characteristics: their peer to peer message strategy, the use of branding well as their consistent anti-tobacco theme (Allen et al. 2010). But it doesn’t stop here- they are yet to do what ‘no generation has ever done before- end smoking’ (Truth,n.d.).



Allen, J.A., Vallone, D., Vargyas, E. & Healton, C.G. 2010, ‘The truth Campaign: Using Countermarketing to Reduce Youth Smoking’, in B.J. Healey & R.S. Zimmerman (eds), The New World of Health Promotion, Jones and Bartlett Publishers, Sudbury, Massachusetts, pp. 195-215.

Niederdeppe, J., Farrelly, M.C. & Haviland, M.L. 2004, ‘Confirming truth: More Evidence of a Successful Tobacco Countermarketing Campaign in Florida’, American Journal of  Public Health, vol. 94, no. 2, pp. 255-257.

Partnership For A Tobacco-Free Maine 2017, Marketing Against Tobacco, Maine Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, viewed 10 December 2017, <;.

Sly, D.F., Heald, G.R. & Ray, S. 2001, ‘The Florida “truth” anti-tobacco media evaluation: design, first year results, and implications for planning future state media evaluations’, Tobacco Control, vol. 10, pp.9-15.

The Ministry of Ins!ghts n.d., TRUTH- anti-tobacco campaign, viewed 11 December 2017, <;.

Truth n.d., truth- #FinishIt, viewed 10 December 2017, <;.

Truthorange 2017, Meet the Tastebuds | Cola | truth, video recording, YouTube, viewed 10 December 2017, <;.

YouWorkForThem 2015, The Anti-Smoking Font – truth, viewed 11 December 2017, <;.


Post D: The Lanting House

By Catherine Nguyen


Lanting houses in Banjarmasin (Bromo, P. 2013)

I’ve travelled to quite a few places throughout my lifetime thus far, however none have come close to the sound of Indonesia. Spread across thousands of islands consist of hundreds of cities, and despite that these neighbourhoods share the same umbrella name, they all have different needs, lifestyles and identities. When combined, they form the culturally rich, beautiful and lively country that is Indonesia.

Whilst the phenomenon of globalisation has proved us certain advantages especially in terms of travel, for places like Indonesia where their identities are defined heavily upon culture, it becomes a battle between modernisation and protecting celebrated traditions.

Banjarmasin, located south of Kalimantan, Indonesia, is a self proclaimed ‘City Of A Thousand Rivers’. The name is well earnt, considering the city has been developed on a delta with a total of 107 rivers, creeks and canals (Kusliansjah et al. 2016). Boasting also a ‘unique architectural heritage, natural splendour and colourful floating markets’ (Chandra, S. 2016), I was intrigued to learn about its historical development as well as the lifestyle of this Banjarnese community that I was envious of.

mapping indonesia

Mapping Indonesia (Nguyen, C. 2017)

To my (un)surprise however, countless articles surfaced to address this physical, economic and environmental transformation the city was currently undergoing, due to the increasingly urbanised and globalised culture (Lamarca, M. 2012). From a city that proudly flaunted their homes which were structurally designed  to be harmonious with nature, they are now facing an identity crisis as they move from the waters onto land.


Presence of lanting houses in present Banjarmasin (Nguyen, C. 2017)

Of the 11 types of homes traditionally known in Banjarmasin, the Lanting house is the only one to be constructed on water. Once an ‘expression of Banjarnese culture’ (Dahliani et al. 2015) and definitive of the city’s way of life, it now ceases to exist- instead replaced with the growing preference for urban architecture as influenced by global trends. Historially built along the riverbanks of Matarpura, Kuin and Alalak they were used as both floating homes and stores- a fundamental aspect to the Banjarnese lifestyle (Kusliansjah et al. 2016). Progressively, with road developments and a growth in land-based settlements, its presence begun to cease. As of 2015, it was recorded that there were only 10 lanting houses left (Dahliani et al. 2015).

Contrastingly to land-based cities where the identities of their urban architecture and local culture are much more definitive and stabilised, tidal waterfront cities such as Banjarmasin are continuously facing uncertainty regarding their infrastructure, and constantly fear the loss of their identity and image as the tidal city.

The traditional lifestyle has not been entirely disregarded yet; there are still river markets floating around Banjarmasin and kelotoks* available for transportation- just targeted towards the tourists more than the locals. But how long will it be until everything becomes complete history?

(Basymeleh, I. 2008, Traditional floating market at the river in Banjarmasin)


*Kelotok = Indonesian wooden boats


Basymeleh, I. 2008, Traditional floating market at the river in Banjarmasin, photograph, Flickr, viewed December 2 2017, <>.

Bromo, P. 2013, ‘NEGERI DI ATAS AIR’, Have A Cup Of Tea!, weblog, viewed December 2 2017, <>.

Chandra, S. 2016, Banjarmasin, Garuda Indonesia Colours, viewed December 1 2017, <>.

Dahliani, Muhammad F. & Hayati A. 2015, ‘Changes of architecture expressions on Lanting House based on activity system on the river’, History Research, vol. 3, no. 1, pp. 1-8.

Kusliansjah, K., Siahaan, U. & Tobing, R. 2016, ‘Reinterpretation of Architectural Identity in a Tidal Waterfront City’, International Journal of Architecture and Urban Development, vol. 6, no. 1, pp. 33-40.

Lamarca, M. 2012, Participatory Waterfront Design in Banjarmasin, polis, viewed December 1 2017, <>.

Michiani, M. & Asano, J. 2017, ‘A Study on the Historical Transformation of Physical Feature and Room Layout of Banjarese House in the Context of Preservation’, Urban and Regional Planning Review, vol. 4, pp. 71-89.