I, myself, am an ex-smoker. I, myself, fully support your mission to end teen smoking. I, myself, do NOT, however, support your latest ad campaign, which I like to call the Stupidest, Most Ridiculous Ad Campaign of All Time. Or SMRACAT, for short.
One of the FAQs on your website is, “Do celebrities really impact teen smoking decisions.” Your answer is, and I quote, “Yeah. When people see their favorite celebs smoking cigarettes, they’re like…”that guy is badass. And he’s smoking. So smoking must be badass.” Says who? Science. Lots and lots of science.”
So, let me get this straight:
1. Teen sees celebrity smoking
2. Teen associates smoking with badass-ness
3. Teen starts smoking
And your genius response to the scientifically-proven, research-based causal relationship between celebrity and teen smoking…is to plaster images of celebrities smoking all over your ad campaign.
Do you really think that teens care that these celebrities are “unpaid tobacco spokespeople?” All they’re seeing when they see this campaign is Rihanna, Orlando Bloom, Lady Gaga, Kiefer Sutherland and dozens of other celebrities smoking cigarettes.
Glamour shots they’re not, no. But who cares? Teens will continue to be influenced by these celebrities, and these celebrities – who I understand you’re trying to “shame” into quitting – are going to continue smoking. Because they are addicted. Because if they were going to be shamed into quitting smoking they would have done so long ago.
If you knew anything about quitting smoking, you would know that people do not quit smoking for the reasons they shouldn’t smoke.
I could go on and on and on for days about the nature of quitting smoking and how ridiculous it is to try and quit nicotine by using nicotine and blah, blah, blah. Read Allen Carr’s book, The Easy Way to Quit Smoking. I feel your marketing people could learn a LOT from it. Like, a LOT! And I don’t know Allen Carr, I don’t work for Allen Carr, and I’m not intentionally plugging his book. But I tried Chantix, I tried the patch and the gum, I tried using willpower, I tried and I tried and I tried to quit smoking, and the only thing that helped me quit – enjoyably, might I add – was this book. But I digress…
You say it yourself: every time a photo of a celebrity smoking is posted, big tobacco gets tons of free marketing. So your response, essentially, was to spend your advertising budget marketing for big tobacco.
May I reiterate: SMRACAT.