Cigarettes – Organic and Really Cool

I got the latest issue of Wired magazine last Saturday. As I thumbed through it I saw a full page advertisement for Davidoff cigarettes which is in the process of launching their brand in the US.

In the ad, Davidoff wants us to know they take no shortcuts in manufacturing their upscale product that just also happens to "causes lung cancer, heart disease, emphysema, and may complicate pregnancy." Of course, that part about cancer, etc. is the required warning statement. With the face of a smiling, barely legal, young man smiling and listening through his headphones along with the placement in Wired, it is pretty obvious Davidoff is targeting young people.

Further back in the same issue is a full page, two-sided insert for Natural American Spirit cigarettes. This is a "green" cigarette or so the marketers seem to be saying. The ad itself has a nice green predominant color. Organic tobacco is their primary pitch. I counted the word "organic" twenty-three times in the ad. Of course, they have the same health warnings because it is not a safer cigarette.

My first impulse was to write this post. And, then I thought, "Who am I to preach to people about what is right and wrong?" I personally find it repulsive that marketers use their talents to push a product that kills and targets young people. I went back and forth thinking about what my readers what to read about and I had almost decided not to write this post.

But, I was wrong. This blog is about sales, marketing and leadership. And, I think you read it because you and I are alike and believe in many of the same things. And, I think you'll agree that when marketers use their talent to sell products or services that they know have a chance of causing pain, suffering and death, we need to shine a light on them.

I have to thank my friend Seth Godin for reminding me of this fact. When I clicked on his blog post this morning, he had written a wonderful column called "Is Marketing Evil." I recommend you read it too.

I believe that most of us can look at either of these ads and see an evil hand at work. Let's make sure we let others know too. Let Wired know you don't appreciate this type of advertising. You can contact them here.

1 thought on “Cigarettes – Organic and Really Cool”

  1. Why target the Wired? Why not go directly to the companies that manufacture the cigarettes? Alright, do Wired and other media too … but first course of action should be direct.

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