We have spent million of dollars and Euros and rubles around the world trying to get kids to stop or never start smoking. The brief has always been about one thing: smoking will kill you. It will turn your lungs black and you into a seething ball of cancer. After all these commercials and public service efforts kids and adults now know the dangers of smoking. ( I once convinced NY State to make wearing the nicotine patch a fashion statement among African America males — another strategy — but that’s a story for another day.) In France the anti-smoking forces have decided to try a new strategy brief. And it’s a good one.
The new brief is all about subjugating kids and making them do what corporate tobacco wants. And their print ads do it in a very dramatic way. Some say too dramatic. In fact, the ads have been banned in some places. Beyond the visual idea, the line “To smoke is to become the slave of tobacco” elicits powerful ideas and images. Women’s groups and child porn groups are all up in arms…and that’s okay. They should be. But this advertising is powerful and effective and it needs to run.
Good advertising makes you feels something then do something. In this case, hopefully it will keep kids from doing something. Smoking. Peace!