Shaken Not Stirred

Tuesday, May 25, 2004

Smoking Commercials

Lately we've been bombarded by these infomercial by Take A Stand. Students both college and high school (mainly high school I think) have been voicing their opinions concerning smoking. This is alright, they are entitled to do it. However, sometimes in an effort to make a point, they lose it. There was one girl who after talking in circles ended up saying "Screw you tobacco companies". Screw you for what? After all, tobacco companies are also only doing their part, voicing their opinion, selling a product. They aren't shoving the cigarettes down the throats of society. Smokers choose to smoke, drinkers choose to drink, customers prefer visa over mastercard and Burger King patrons will have it their way. What it all boils down to is advertising and freedom of speech.

Back to the "screw you" chick. Since I've recently found myself overweight (mainly because of eating Chips with my study crew while doing practice questions), can I say "Screw You Lays"? Nope I can't. The chippage consumption was completely my own doing. Yes they are addictive (more mentally than anything else). But the whole consumption thing or lack of self-control was my doing. I shoved handfuls of that stuff down my throat--along with the Cadbury Creme Filled Eggs. Getting mad at the advertisers is completely ridiculous. If you want to target an audience, target the smokers. But a word of warning, don't be aggressive. Smokers don't like to be told to put it out.

It was like that law suit--if memory serves me and if it wasn't an internet hoax---some consumer was trying to sue McDonalds for being overweight. WHAT? How is this the fault of a restaurant. They just served the food. No one asked the person to go thru the drive thru 22 times a day. Like I said, it's a part of advertising. It's a hypnotic sub-culture that makes us believe we need more than we actually do. Our purchasing power is really up to us though. The advertising companies are just doing what they are told.

Tobacco companies know that their product is bad. It's part of their warning label. All the research points in that direction. It is really up to the consumer to stop smoking, an individual decision. Yes, standing up and voicing your concerns is great. Giving us true testimonials on it's affect on your lives is even better. But it seems to me like you are shoving the whole concept down people's throat. As a past smoker, I would have been furious to have seen some of these commercials. I would have donned the attitude, "I can smoke if I want". Just a natural defense mechanism. One of those all American, "I've got my rights, my freedom to choose". And with some person who has never smoked telling me "Screw you", only adds fire to already boiling pot.

It's always been said, the best way to catch flies is with honey. Lure a customer into the product or ideal and then snap the trap shut. It's the way these tobacco, fast food ads, amazing discoveries infomercial and Best of the 80's Pop CD people do it. They set out the lure, then BLAM! You're caught.

I know that smoking can make you angry. Since I've quit a year ago, I can't stand the smell at times. I just go to the non-smoking session. Go to the part of Rome, where the Romans are doing what you are doing. You don't have to wear Non-Smoker orange shirts in the smoking section to make your point. In fact why do you have to go to that section at all? Kinda look funny doing it. The attitude doesn't sell over there. You give them something to talk about.

Anyway, I know you are just expressing your opinion as I am too. I applaud your efforts, but not your methods.


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