Category Archives: Anti-tobacco campaign

Truth! ad talk of VMAs … new Truth! ads damned scary as crap!

It's a trap

You can tell the people who have created some the latest Truth! ads grew up watching John Carpenter’s “The Thing,” which I remember as one of the scariest movies of all time.

The Truth! anti-smoking campaign got a lot of attention at this year’s MTV Video Music Awards for its puking unicorn ad. I actually found this ad pretty funny. This ad does a very witty take on various Internet memes to point out that “social  smoking” and hookah smoking is a trap. You don’t just smoke a few cigarettes and then quit. It’s all still got nicotine and it’s all incredibly addictive. Today, you’re smoking a few cigs, tomorrow you’re smoking a pack a day. 30 years from now, you’ve failed to quit and now you have COPD or cancer.

Here is the “It’s a Trap!” ad:

However, over the past few months, I’ve seen an ever better ad campaign, that I know came from “The Thing” remake from about 1981. In these commercials, a really disgusting monster/giant spider attacks a teen or science teacher while someone explains how toxic and full of poisons it is.

As a bunch of teens scream and run away from it, the monster retreats into a pack of cigarettes. The point is, “if you really knew how scary cigarettes were, would you smoke them.”

Those commercials always reminded me of the damned head-crap scene from The Thing that completely freaked me out when I was about 17. This movie got panned reviews when it came out, but it’s now considered a cult horror classic with some of the most gruesome special effects imaginable for the day:

I love these commercials because kids love to be scared to this day and age. There aren’t as many horror movies geared to kids today as there were when I was a kid but it’s a great way to get the message through to kids that they can relate to — cigarette are scary. In a very gross and disgusting way. If you’ve ever watched someone die from COPD or cancer, it is very, very scary to see what it does to a person.

 

 

The Real Cost of Smoking extremely gross and hopefully effective anti-smoking campaign

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Oh, God, he’s actually going to pull out one of his teeth.

Wow, I saw an anti-smoking commercial this week that literally just made me cringe.

It’s from a campaign called “the Real Cost of Smoking.” In this ad, a guy goes to the counter to buy a pack of menthols and the clerk looks at his money and says, “that’s not enough.”

What does the guy do? He pulled out a pair of pliers and literally yanks out one of his teeth and drops it on the counter. “Oh, man …. I did not actually just see that,” was my reaction. I’ve seen it a few times since and every time, I look away … and I don’t even smoke. I can’t imagine how cringe-worthy the ad is for smokers to watch, which I suppose is the actual point.

The commercial goes on to say that smoking menthols causes gum damage.

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In this ad, a teenaged girl pulls the skin off her cheek.

There’s another “The Real Cost of Smoking” ad I saw a few weeks ago that’s almost as gross. A young woman goes to the counter in this one, the clerk likewise says, “that’s not enough,” and she peels the skin off her cheek and drops it on the counter. The point being that smoking causes skin damage.

These ads are actually from the Food and Drug Administration. These are the kind of ads I would expect from Truth.org but not the federal government. These are the first anti-smoking ads from the FDA, and they’re obviously taking a cue from Truth.org to create intense anti-smoking ads.

Anyway, here is the tooth-pulling ad. Watch it. If you dare.

 

Needle in the eyes: CDC anti-smoking ads get more graphic

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CDC anti-smoking testimonial. That’s a hole in his throat he is covering up.

 

The Centers for Disease Control has released a new series of “Tips from Former Smokers” ads designed to seriously turn people off of smoking — we’re talking missing teeth, operation scars and ….needles in the eyes (and yes, I watched with my hand in front of my face.).

The needles in the eye involve a testimonial from a woman suffering from macular degeneration in her eyes caused by smoking. From a story done by NBC last week on this campaign:

This year, Marlene, who isn’t fully identified, tells about having to endure regular treatments for macular degeneration. “Please don’t end up like me. Don’t sit in a doctor’s chair, have a clamp put on your eye, and have needles stuck in your eyeballs. It’s horrible,” Marlene, who is 68, told NBC News.

I get these ads on my Facebook feeds from time to time and I’ve watched a few of them. Great for NBC News to do a feature on the “Tips from Former Smokers” campaign, focusing on the cringe-worthiness of the ads.

 

Part of the emphasis of the “Tips from Former Smokers” campaign is sending the message that smoking doesn’t just cause lung cancer. Research has shown that smoking either causes or is a huge risk factor for a wide variety of diseases, including COPD, diabetes, sight loss and arthritis. I’ve personally seen how smoking probably made my mom’s arthritis much worse, if it didn’t downright cause it to begin with.

Dr. Tim McAfee, head of the CDC Smoking and Health Office, claims that the campaign has prompted 100,000 smokers to quit.

Some of the stories from former smokers quoted in the CDC campaign and NBC story:

Julia, a 58-year-old Mississippi native, advises on how to use a colostomy bag in one video. “I smoked and I got colon cancer,” she says. “What I hated the most was the colostomy bag. That’s where they re-route your intestines, so you have bowel movements that go into a bag.”

One tip: Get a sense of humor. “You’ll need it,” she says.

“When you have a hole in your neck…be very careful shaving,” advises Shawn, 50, of Washington state, a smoker who got throat cancer.

Website: Tobacco Tactics

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Here is a Website I stumbled upon that looks really interesting, called Tobacco Tactics. I hope the people behind it keep it active. I’ll definitely be checking it out over the next few days. The group also has a Facebook page with links to other anti-tobacco resources. It’s based out of the UK (seems to be part of the University of Bath), so it has a bit of an emphasis on the UK and expends a lot of energy on the battle over plain packaging of cigarette packs (that’s strictly a non-U.S. issue, plain packaging was thrown out in the U.S. over First Amendment issues).

This site focuses on the tobacco industry’s deceptive marketing tactics and misinformation campaign. Man, they have some really extensive stuff in there about astroturfing and Internet trolls. I’ve always wondered if “Confederate1978” (the most active pro-smoking troll I’ve ever seen) was some kind of paid tobacco operative (probably not, but you never know.).

As an aside, on virtually every e-cigarette article I find online that has comments, there always seem to be people wildly endorsing e-cigarettes and how they are harmless and how they helped them quit smoking. I have seriously wondered at times if these posters are genuine or if some of them are literally employees of e-cigarette companies.

Anyway, this site is an awesome source of information on the industry’s incredibly sordid history of lies, cover-ups and dishonest tactics that go on to this day. It will take me forever to plow through all this. There’s a chapter on “pro-smoking blogs” that I think I could add some names to!

Anyway, check it out! It’s an informative read.

 

“Unpaid Tobacco Spokesman” — GREAT ad campaign by Truth.org

I found this ad campaign absolutely fantastic from the consistently amazing Truth campaign (paid for by the American Legacy Foundation, which comes from Master Settlement Agreement funds — the tobacco industry itself pays for these ads, which has at times really pissed it off.).

It’s a series of images of young Hollywood actors puffing away with the meme “Unpaid Tobacco Spokesman” to creep shame these actors into realizing they’re setting a lame example for kids. They don’t look hip with a cigarette hanging out of their mouth, they don’t look cool, they just look stupid. The ad ends with “They’re the new face of Big Tobacco, and they don’t even know it.”

The ads are part of the Truth.org group’s “Finish it!” campaign, meaning the finish line to stamping out teen smoking is within site.

Included are the guy from Twilight … Edward something, Kristen Stewart, Mary-Kate Olson, Orlando Bloom (Ok, he’s 37, not so young), Chris Brown, Rihanna, Emma Roberts, etc. Young actors or singers. I even saw a flash of Keifer Sutherland in this ad.

This article from Al-Jazeera America features the Truth campaign and its wild success, and flatly says, “The End of Teen Smoking is Here.”

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Well, I don’t know about an absolute like that, I suspect we’ll never completely stamp it out, but the latest statistics are stunning. According to the Legacy Foundation, the teen smoking rate today is 9 percent, compared to 23 percent 15 years ago. (I know it’s been dropping dramatically, but 9 percent seems really low — according to the Centers for Disease Control, that rate was 14 percent in 2012.)

The AJA article points out that teens often follow what celebrities are doing on social media and the Truth campaign takes that phenomena and turns it on its head.

In nonprofit meetings across the country, I have no doubt that starry-eyed directors are telling their employees to come up with something that will go viral. The ice bucket challenge to support a cure for ALS was a moon shot, a one-in-a-million public relations hit that set a new standard for nonprofit outreach. Celebrities, politicians and a lot of people in your Facebook feed posted videos of themselves dumping bucketfuls of ice water on their heads, and a portion of them went on to learn about ALS and donate money for research. (The Truth campaign) It was a triumph of creativity and conformity at the same time.

What’s awesome about this Truth campaign is that it was Hollywood for decades and decades that for reasons that to this day mystify me, became the biggest FREE unofficial marketing force for cigarette use throughout much of the 20th century. Countless movies beginning in the 1930s showed smoking as being either tough, suave or cool, and this continued well after the 1964 Surgeon General report … and it was all for free. The tobacco industry didn’t pay a nickel for all that free advertising over the couse of decades. Not … a … nickel. Hard to believe. Big Tobacco didn’t start paying for product placement in movies until Superman II in 1980 and the MSA agreement in 1998 brought that to a halt, and yet smoking in movies actually went UP over the next decade.

Why? Because Hollywood is still stuck with some weird fixation that somehow smoking is cool, hip and suave (the music industry is much the same). They’re still stuck in the 1940s. Well, Humphrey Bogart, John Wayne and countless other stars from Hollywood’s Golden Age, died of cancer caused by their smoking. Only when studios were threatened with R ratings for depicting smoking in movies did studios really make the effort to curb smoking in movies.

The AJA article does acknowledge that one major factor for the rate of teen smoking dropping, is the meteoric rise in the use of e-cigs among teens. So, it might be roughly the same number of kids still using nicotine products. That’s the down side of these numbers.

Anyway, what’s awesome about the Truth campaign is that it’s helped change the playing field — where once smoking was cool and hip, now it’s seen as stupid. Years ago, Hollywood actors were the icons of making cigarettes cool, now those same techniques are being used to make entertainers look stupid for smoking.

The AJA article:

Reducing teen smoking is no doubt a worthy goal, and the Legacy Foundation has done a better job than most nonprofits getting its message to the people who need to hear it. The foundation received its last major settlement check in 2003 but made it last through prudent financial management. It has successfully undone much of the tobacco industry’s harmful misinformation and it did it in 15 years with rhetoric instead of punishment. Teen smokers can blame Truth when their friends hassle them for lighting up, and the organization deserves credit for that.

As an aside, I would be DYING to know what some of these celebrities think about being featured in this ad. I doubt very many of them are happy about it.

Great old Mad magazine anti-smoking ad

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Got this from Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. This is great! Really funny.

Mad magazine used to be famous for its fake ads (and some of them looked very real).

Here is a scathing ad from way back in 1965 just skewering Big Tobacco with a “Us Cigarette Makers Would Rather Fight than Quit” ad, mocking the old, long running Tareyton cigarette campaign of “I’d rather fight than switch.”

As a smoker smokes a dollar bill, the ad for “Carry On” reads:

“You think we’re going to let our billion-dollar industry go up in smoke? Sure those Gov’t reports linking cancer and smoking gave us a black eye! But just you wait! Our own scientists and public relations men are hard at work and we’ll be fighting back pretty soon!”

The ad concludes: “Coming Soon! Self serving reports to help the tobacco industry. Higher sales through statistical double talk.”

Wow, that is REALLY ahead of its time. I guess Mad magazine had no desire for any cigarette advertising.

 

Great old anti-smoking commercial

Got this from SmokeFreeCA. A really cute and very old anti-smoking ad featuring “Johnny Smoke.”

It appears to be from the 1960s and a direct counter to the Marlboro Man. This is apparently from 1967 or 1968.

Using some pretty primitive animation, the commercial asks, “how many saddles will be empty tonight?” “How many tears will be shed because of you?”

This commercial was put out by the American Heart Association. I’m curious who does the narration. It sounds a lot like Thurl Ravenscroft, who did the narration to the original “How the Grinch Stole Christmas.”

 

Hey, I just realized this video reminds me of Primus’ “Lee Van Cleef”

Tobacco companies must place full-page ads admitting they lied

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Interesting and to me surprising story.

This week, several tobacco companies — RJ Reynolds, Altria (Philip Morris) — agreed with the Justice Department to print “corrective statements” in major newspapers around the U.S. admitting that they lied for many years about the health effects of smoking.

These full-page ads will appear in the Sunday editions of 35 newspapers. In addition, the tobacco companies have to post articles on the newspapers’ websites and on their own websites admitting their lies. On top of that, there will be television commercials as well.

A long way from the early 1990s, when tobacco executives testifying before Congress continued to claim that nicotine wasn’t addictive and that there was no proof smoking caused lung cancer (Yup, they kept claiming this right into the ’90s.)

This agreement is part of a 15-year-long racketeering case being pursued by the Justice Department against the tobacco industry.

The five lies the industry will be forced to publicly admit:

The five corrective statements will address the companies’ deceptions regarding 1) the health effects of smoking; 2) the addictiveness of smoking and nicotine; 3) the false advertising of low-tar and light cigarettes as less harmful than regular cigarettes; 4) the designing of cigarettes to enhance the delivery of nicotine; and 5) the health effects of secondhand smoke.

Oh, No. 5 is a hoot. Reminds me all the old arguments I’ve had with smokers’ right’s nuts that secondhand smoke is completely harmless. Dave Hitt, FORCES, the Heartland Institute will not be happy with these full-page ads.

I mean does this make any difference? It won’t undo the damage done and bring people back to life. But, I think it’s important that these lies are exposed once and for all (and I’m serious, there are still people to this day arguing that secondhand smoke is harmless). It’s all about maintaining the legacy of the “cigarette century,” a century in which untold millions died from their tobacco addiction, and the industry’s cover-up of that holocaust. Ultimately, that’s how we will win.

 

Awesome anti-smoking ad from Thailand

This is great. Another find on Epoch Times.

An outstanding anti-smoking ad from Thailand. Two little kids walk up to a bunch of smokers holding cigarettes asking for a light. In every case, the adults refuse to give the kids a light and instead give them a lecture about how cigarettes are poisonous and cause emphysema, etc.

The commercial ends with the children handing adults a note, saying, “you worry about me, but not about yourself.”

And cue the adults giving the kids puzzled looks. Powerful stuff. This commercial has been playing worldwide for a few weeks: