Sunday, 11 March 2012

Non-Smoking Adverts

I have recently started to walk-down the path to respiratory health that starts with your last cigarette. Obviously the road is not smooth, alcohol gives me the steadfast will of a meth addict, but I'm making huge positive steps. There is one massive problem though. I'm now a non-smoker. As the late great Bill Hicks once said of non-smokers.
"I'd quit if I wasn't worried I'd become one of you."

Obviously smoking, or not smoking, is an incredibly tiny fraction of what makes you, you. It's a single choice and it's less significant than, say, how you vote, your favourite film or your choice of furry costume.

Furry TaunTaun. Thank you internet for ruining every-fucking-thing.

However you are allowed to judge groups based on how they choose to present themselves in the media, if you weren't then voting would actually be impossible. I'm not talking about the way smoking is portrayed, Clint Eastwood proved back in the old west that smoking makes you look bad-ass. I'm talking about the way the tobacco companies, are legally obliged to, comport themselves as opposed to the anti-smoking campaigners. Here's a tobacco advert... no those exist any more, so here's a cigarette box.

Stark, honest and brutal. These cigarettes are bad. They will harm you . They say it right there on the box. That message couldn't be more straight forward. There is absolutely no subtext. Actually there is an important subtext. That message says. "We trust you to make your own decisions based on the available facts." So let's look at an anti-smoking advert.

Cynical, manipulative emotional blackmail... the radio campaign that goes with this is worse, but I can't find it online. This campaign makes me want to smoke, just so I'm not in the same camp as these bastards. That's something I've always felt. I have a real problem with authority. That's not to say that I automatically ignore anything that comes from a  'higher power' it just means I like to weigh up the merits of any message, or the person(s) delivering it, prior to following it.
For example if the authors appear in the books and come
out of it really fucking well, it might be made up

This approach to life is one I feel is common among smokers, there is a reason smoking is perceived as, for lack of a better word, cool. I'm not saying smoking is cool. However anti-authoritarianism is a key building block of cool and I feel that the initial choice to start smoking is intrinsically linked to that trait. As such these anti-smoking adverts are not just immoral but also ridiculously ineffective. You see the moment you start using these methods to argue your case you taint the argument itself. Anti-smoking adverts need to be clear, simple and above all bullshit free. People who are still smoking are not going to be swayed by being told they're going to die in new and interesting ways. Instead these adverts need to focus on the same things that unhealthy stuff does in advertising. Be funny, charming and interesting. As such I now pitch the ultimate anti-smoking advert.
The FACT stamp makes it true.

We open on to guys side by side running up a country road, it's all close shots, both guys are wearing normal work out gear and both are equally sweating and breathing equally heavily. We get a freeze-frame. DING! A caption appears. "One of these men smokes". We then cut to a wide shot which reveals that the two men are being chased by a slathering pack of werewolves. One of the men starts to flag and starts to fall behind the other. DING! "Smokers are 95% more likely to be mercilessly slaughtered by werewolves". BOOM! Effective, funny, memorable and people will soon be quoting it at there smoking friends.

eddie <I could change the world if people would listen to me>


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