I’m going to start off by saying, I am not a smoker. I can’t stand cigarettes. The way they smell. Way they make your skin feel when after being around them. The way that some of my friends whom smoke have GOD AWFUL breath…. I really despise cigarettes on their own. And to throw another reason into the mix, I found when I was 14 that I have an allergy to an additive in many brands. (They always made me ill, but it wasn’t until this age I understood why.) I’ve grown out of that allergy some, but they are still not pleasant for me to be around. If around too much smoke, or the wrong brands, I will go into violent coughing fits (sometimes until I vomit,) or at very least come away from it with a killer migraine. I have great reason to hate cigarettes. So, with that said, can we discuss these new TRUTH commercials for a second and why they piss me off?
I’m going to break down each commercial into VERY tiny comprehensive bits for your thorough understanding. (I know many of you don’t need this done, but I want to make sure everyone FULLY appreciates what they are saying in these commercials to manipulate you. I can point out several ways they are hurting their own cause, while at the same time, slowly trying to sway you into voting for smoking bans if not the flat out prohibition of tobacco.
(This ironically coincides a bit on the other blog I’ve been working on about being able to catch what people “mean” vs what they “say.”)
"Spheres. Enjoy your freedom." <--What?
Read between the lines here. It is a very carefully worded advert. “Proudly made with American glass.” …this line accomplishes TWO things. First, it sounds like a slogan Big Tobacco would, and has, used in the past, reaffirming the comparison to cigarettes and cementing it in your mind. Second, “Proudly,” and “American,” lend a sense of patriotism and will subconsciously bring concepts of government into frame of thought.
The entire commercial is set in a negative light. The point they seem to be more “discretely” selling is hidden beneath the ever sardonic, “Enjoy your freedom.” They have painted cigarettes as the antagonist. You should be against them. They are evil. Such a thing should be restricted! “Enjoy your freedom.” Wait… People have a right to choose to smoke??? This “freedom” surely cannot be! We must take action! How could our government allow this!? They are selling a viewpoint that Spheres, and cigarettes alike, should be illegal seeing as the American consumer is too stupid to stay away from such a dangerous product.
“adult consumers asked for them, and here they are.” <-once again insulting American intelligence, but what gets me about this one is the child asking for candy. Again, we’re painting a handlebar mustache on the tobacco company with exaggerations of, they are targeting our youth! And I’m not going to argue if they are or aren’t. That’s not the current point. (Because I’m sure they are.) But the commercial is using a fear tactic in a very roundabout way to appeal to parents’ sympathies. They are targeting our CHILDREN!!!! But let’s ignore that children are watching this commercial while the door is swinging both ways. Hrmmm…. This point and its importance will have to wait until after these next couple of clips. Stay with me, I promise I’ll get to it.
No… Smokers take a well known risk and one dies every 6.5 seconds.
I also love that they made an actual half assed website to accompany the fictional companies link mentioned in the commercial.
Go ahead. Click on it. It will work.
I love the line, “Deadly when used correctly.” Yeah… So are guns.
Let’s first look at this, in conjunction with the previous commercials, from strictly the adult view. We’ve established that it is SO evil that it should be illegal and we must protect our children from such dangers. …But, guns aren’t illegal. We just restrict them. They can be deadly. But if you tell someone you’re going to take away their right to bear arms, we suddenly have a problem.
The important thing is to teach our children about what is safe as well as to instill concepts of moderation and responsibility.
Anyone remember those bubblegum cigarettes we all used to puff on as children? Boy, glad we got rid of THOSE. Otherwise we might still have people that smoke and need for a bunch of really irritating commercials. Glad THAT solved it. Now, everyone reading this that has ever owned, or allows their children to own, a NERF gun. ….Are you afraid of your child one day growing up to climb a clock tower with a twenty two? Why?
Be it alcohol, cigarettes, or firearms, YOU are responsible for YOUR choices. And personally? I would like to keep it that way. I do not smoke, but I do not need anyone telling me I can’t. Please feel free to tell me I shouldn’t. But don’t tell me I CAN’T. That’s for ME to decide. And MY potential future children as well.
I thought the blood dripping down the edge of the screen was a nice touch.
Now to return to that one more thing that I would point out from “between the lines,” in all of this comparing cigarettes to candy for the adult viewers, driving that subconscious fear into the parents that our children are going to smoke 10 packs a day. A child watches the same commercial. But to them, and the limited understanding of the issue, they will see the door swing BOTH ways. Let me break it down for you through a child’s subliminal eyes. Candy = fun. Candy is like cigarettes. Cigarettes = Fun. Especially if the grownups are saying, “not till you’re older.” You just hurt your OWN cause with this anti cigarette ad. Making light of how the Tobacco companies appeal to children JUST MADE CIGARETTES APPEAL TO CHILDREN!!!!
Stop. Just Stop! You’re making my brain hurt. Don’t beat around the bush and think you’re being all clever and dramatic with you subliminal scare tactics.
If you ACTUALLY want to get through to people? Try this. The following is an anti smoking commercial from Australia. It is straight forward and very to the point.
……….but dare we actually show something so graphic on AMERICAN tv??? GASP! God forbid a child sees this scary image and it leaves an impression! Because THAT isn’t what we are trying to do. OH WAIT, it IS! How silly of me.
Okay. If we still can’t show that… No big. We don’t have to. Here’s proof you can still be clever, AND to the point, without being graphic.
Reasons for smoking.
I recently had a conversation with someone about smoking. This person is intelligent, and fully comprehends the consequences of his choices. He confessed that he has quit several times before; for months on end at a time. I inquired further. “Why,” I asked. “Why after finding the will to get through quitting, would you return to the habit?” His explanation was succinct. “Because I like it.”
He likes the feel of it. The camaraderie he shares with other smokers. The relaxation. The nostalgia. The everything associated with it. He is aware that it is not healthy. He is aware that it is expensive. He is aware that it is addicting. He is aware that…. Huh, that’s strange. What else is there? Really? Can you name anything else that can’t be summed up by these 3 little statements?
All in all? Personally I say, DON’T smoke. And sure, Big Tobacco HAS done some pretty vile, awful, villainous things. (So have a lot of corporations.) I will support everyone that wants to quit, but I will not infringe on a person’s choice. It is up to YOU, not me. Not the government. Not anyone but YOU. Take responsibility for your own actions, and give credit where true credit is due. It is your choice just the same as it is your choice to eat fatty foods, drink alcohol, own a gun, join the polar bear club, go skydiving or bungee jumping. I don’t want a cookie cutter life, preordained and laid out for me. I want CHOICE. And I want everyone else to have it too.