Now for the grand finale in our trio of hypocrisy, the winner of both the Ironic Ad Award and the Giant Head-Scratcher Trophy:
The mind simply reels. A loss for words ensues. Then, into the vacant brain creeps a bumper-sticker slogan from years ago: “Save the Planet-Kill Yourself.”
Where does one begin? With the boot-print in the earth, so evocative of humanity’s impact? With the appropriation of cartoonish Native American imagery? How about the cleverly highlighted buzzwords: “free of additives”…”earth-friendly”…and the high king of them all, “organic.” Of course, it’s organic…tobacco. Such deep wells of irony there. Surely we don’t want any pesticide residue on our carcinogens, now do we? The requisite warnings are boxed in white, but that only lends them a “we-have-to-put-these-here” air. That helps to distract from the implicit contradiction between the ad’s true message and the reality of cigarettes being the only consumer product that, when used properly, cause death. I will give them credit, though, for posting this message on their website, as part of the age-verification process:
“Thank you for your interest in Santa Fe Natural Tobacco Company. You are welcome to visit our company site for informational purposes, but we cannot stress this enough: If you don’t smoke, don’t start.” Maybe they’re required by law to do that too.
Nor does the Santa Fe Natural Tobacco Company, as a wholly-owned subsidiary of Reynolds American (which is in turn a partially-owned subsidiary of British American Tobacco), get any more points for localness than Tim’s Cascade Chips. To me, a strong element of “local” is ownership and control; otherwise, it’s just another brand in the stable. Leave it to Brooklyn to bring true hyper-localism to tobacco.