When I was thinking about cigarette ads I remembered seeing during my youth two images immediately came to mind. There was Joe Camel and the Marlboro man. Joe Camel was a young hip cool Camel that maybe in retrospect was too young and cartoony, with enough people arguing he was designed purely to appeal to kids that he was eventually buried in graveyard of unwanted mascots between the Noid and whatever the fuck Spongmonkeys were.
|The main menu full of sub-menus and lavishly-designed pages and videos
Once you're logged-in on Malboro's website you can watch fun videos about the wide-open wilderness, read about ranches, how saddles are made, and basically enmesh yourself in the life of the fictional cowboy that never really existed but we like to imagine did in our rosy view of American history. After indulging in the Wild West you can read about music, enter a contest to design your own neon sign for nightclubs, and use Marlboro's handy bar-finder tool to locate a drinking establishment that will also let you puff on all kinds of deadly chemicals whilst getting tipsy. Then you can follow a link to download a picture game featuring imagery of (what else?) cowboys, guys riding motorcycles, and other masculine imagery? Next, you can get some cooking recipes to help you, "Cook like a man," and grill-up some dude-food. After all that, share some comments and enjoy chatting with other smokers on the site while you bond over how, um, great smoking is?
|Enjoy manly tales of cowboys...and smoking, I guess?
I didn't think a cigarette company would put so much money and effort into a website you can only view with a lot of effort. Then I realized why they did. You see, the people who access these sites are willingly seeking this stuff out and in this advertising vacuum where cigarette companies can only, "Preach to the choir," they do so. It is getting harder and harder for big tobacco to gain new smokers so they need to do whatever they can told hold onto the current ones.
|The website's main food page,
because if you're gonna cook don't cook like a woman.
One Day a Packet Came
|Fresh air and deadly smoke!
The other papers advising me to visit the site for more recipes to, "Cook like a man," made me again wonder what the Hell that phrase even meant. There were some coupons for taking a dollar off a pack of cigarettes or three dollars off a carton included as well. This packet did everything to make smoking look awesome and have you forget the fact that you are literally inhaling deadly smoke into your lungs. It would be impressive if it weren't so disturbing and false. I threw the packet in our recycling.
Just Plain Weird
|The cover to a little packet with some coupons.
Perhaps as less and less new smokers pick-up the nasty habit and more and more long-time smokers work to quit then eventually these tobacco companies won't even have enough money to make advertisements that are as fancy as they are insular in the focus on being geared towards keeping smokers smoking. Perhaps big tobacco will someday become little tobacco with an increasingly shrinking amount of clients for their product, I certainly hope that does occur!
|Just a reminder what cigarettes do to the human body.
Lastly, for anyone I know who smokes and wants to quit, Smokefree.gov is a great tool for finding resources and support. The last thing the cigarette companies want you to do is stop smoking, but that is the a great choice you can make for your health.