Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Fourteen Palms

Stop smoking ads are tough to do, because selling the notion of quitting smoking to smokers is a really tough sell. You'd almost have to be a smoker to create an effective anti-smoking ad. How do I know? I'm an evil smoker. And the evil tobacco companies have made me their compliant slave. What? Five packs for the price of three? I'm there! Thank you, evil tobacco company!

And like all smokers, "I'll quit someday!" But all the stop smoking campaigns and the cutting-edge "Truth" PSAs from CP+B don't affect me. They only piss me off with their sanctimonious preaching. You want to tell me all about rat poison and second-hand smoke? Screw you, stupid punk ad agency bitches! I blow smoke in your smug faces!

We know we are socially unacceptable (unless you're drinking with us and you want to bum a smoke) and our habit is nasty and smelly. We want to quit. Really, we do. But we love it. So do you...when you're drinking with us.

TobaccoFreeFlorida.com has been doing some effective stuff lately. I say "effective" only because as a smoker, it makes me seriously think about my habit and ponder ways to quit. And I know the only way to quit is just to lay them down and not pick them up again. You can give me guides and suggestions and websites and support groups, but it's up to me, and these ads are driving that point home. I liked this one, particularly.

Tell me to quitClick for bigness

Fourteen Palms

From my forthcoming album, The Summer Land

I walked down to the store Sunday afternoon
Something telling me to quit smoking soon
I ignored that voice and picked up the pace
In the grip of the demon who won’t be replaced

A free pack of smokes from Parliament
Not my brand, but money well spent
Two for one special on the menthol kings
You know how it is, addicted to those things

The second pack was not for resale
Twenty free sticks for me to inhale
packaged so pretty in a cardboard sleeve
with a picture of the beach that made me believe

Been smoking these things for 14 years
They calm your nerves, they soothe your fears
This country was founded on tobacco trade
I’m doing my part. They’re American made

You smoke a lot when you have some spares
The first pack went fast, I had no cares
The free pack beckoned and I unwrapped the top
When they give ‘em away free, why stop?

But these were different, a twist on design
A palm tree on the filter…maybe a sign
Matching the theme of the beach on the box
I checked the calendar, I checked the clocks

Now there’s fourteen palms in my ashtray
I’m out of money and I’m going away
Down to the beach, to the palm trees
and when I want a smoke, I’ll inhale the breeze

Been smoking these things for 14 years
They calm your nerves, they soothe your fears
This country was founded on tobacco trade
I’m doing my part. They’re American made

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  • Well, at least you eat healthy. Crank up the cardio. Best of luck.

    By Anonymous Laneesha, at June 17, 2008 at 11:21 PM  

  • The truth campaign pisses me off because they don't tell that smoking is bad or unhealthy, they focus on telling me that the tobacco companies are evil liars.

    It seems like the strategy is off. It's poor advertising.

    Plus they are just plain stupid.

    By Blogger Two Thousand Words, at June 18, 2008 at 10:45 PM  

  • So, are your albums available through itunes or something?

    By Blogger JT Taylor, at June 19, 2008 at 8:18 AM  

  • Being an ex smoker there's a lot to share on the topic. Do i think smoking is vile disgusting and murder? No. of course not. It's delicious, it's glorious, it's sexy, it finishes off a day with a touch that is processed by my mind as just what I needed.

    Ok... so how did I quit? I fell in love with a woman that is allergic and thinks it's disgusting. I also had colds every two months that lasted about a month (do some poor month and you'll see I was sick half the year). Add to that i almost drowned twice from being short of breath and you go, shit maybe I should quit.

    So I did. No Nicorette. no patch. nothing. I just consciously said, this isn't worth it and I can quit smoking but can't quit being in love.

    What are the kickers? First off, I quit when I worked a Cigarette Company... this means I could get a carton of smokes free of charge by just saying please... I could have asked for one every week... (shit I shoulda sold them). Second kicker... my mom still smokes... Third kicker I wasn't a typical addict in the sense that I didn't have to smoke. I didn't get jitters, the shakes or anything. I just said, damn I want a smoke, and had one.

    I've seen black lungs, dead babies, low sperm counts, impotence findings and countless other rational reasons to quit... What made me quit? Personal experience, irrational emotions (love isn't rational), and almost dying from the side effect of being out of breath. What will it take for you to quit? Trust me, you won't find it in an ad. You'll find it in life.

    Case in point, my dad quit because I was having some emotional problems as a kid. he wasn't the most communicative guy, but he loved me and he couldn't face me holding something like smoking against him. No logic, just something that crushed his heart before the cigs did.

    By Blogger Joker, at June 19, 2008 at 11:02 AM  

  • JT: Sadly, no, not yet. Most of the music has yet to be recorded, but sneak peeks are available through some of my sidebar links.

    Joker: Kind words and wise. Thanks.

    By Blogger Jetpacks, at June 19, 2008 at 6:13 PM  

  • I worked a short stint on the Truth campaign. I could go into detail on why it’s great and why it’s among the most effective anti-smoking work ever, but I don’t have the time. I will say two things though.

    First, in case you didn’t know it, the Truth campaign is technically bankrolled by Big Tobacco. It was all part of a big lawsuit settlement. Anyway, there literally are guidelines to what the advertising can and can’t say. In short, Big Tobacco essentially approves the messaging. The guidelines have really handcuffed the efforts, although CP+B has done a brilliant job of working through and around them.

    Second, do you know what is the most proven effective anti-smoking tactic? Raising taxes on cigarettes. When taxes are raised, smoking goes down. Significantly and consistently. That’s why Big Tobacco employs so many Washington lobbyists. We once suggested shifting all the messaging toward legislators versus consumers. Our suggestion was denied.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at June 20, 2008 at 12:14 AM  

  • Anon:

    Thanks for the background. I knew Big Tobacco paid for the Truth stuff, but I'm sure they had nothing to do with the messaging. I doubt they were even granted approving rights.

    I'm all for taxing the shit out of cigs, even though I smoke. Hit me in the wallet and I'd likely HAVE to quit.

    By Blogger Jetpacks, at June 20, 2008 at 6:42 AM  

  • Just to clarify, Big Tobacco technically does not approve the work. However, the agreement definitely stipulates what can and can’t be said. The original Truth work, which CP+B started as a local Florida campaign, was initially highly effective because they were calling out Big Tobacco companies by name (e.g., there were initial spots where kids called tobacco companies ala The Jerky Boys to harass people). That sort of stuff was ultimately nixed with the agreement. You are prohibited from calling them out directly. That’s just one example of the mandates. So technically, Big Tobacco does not approve the work. But they definitely have restricted what can be done.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at June 20, 2008 at 8:45 AM  

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