C’mon guys, we’re all adults here – rise from the ashes. Pretty straightforward huh?
As you can see above, we’ve got a commercial for a cigarette substitute (E-Cig). As the commercial begins the viewer sees a middle aged man sharing his personal testimony as a smoker.
But wait, who is this guy anyway? Steven Dorff? Who is that guy? I didn’t want to be embarrassed and not recognize the guy because I “wasn’t old enough to”, so I did some quick research. According to his wiki page he has starred in a lot of films, but nothing I’d ever heard of. I just feel like if you are going to use a celebrity endorsement to try and make me think something is cool, the guy actually needs to be cool. In my opinion if you have starred in Leave it to Beaver, Diff’rent Strokes, and Roseanne, you can’t really pull that double card of being a cool-badass-five o’clock shadow e-cig smoker. That’s enough about that.
Since all of the “hubbub” over a poor choice for a celebrity endorser put me about half way through the video, I rewinded that sucker and viewed it again from a more open, unbiased perspective. Smoking is kind of strange, and in my opinion people don’t start smoking to relieve stress, they start it because it looks cool or feels good when you are drunk. When everyone has had a couple brews then goes outside you don’t want to be left out. So there it is, out in the open now. I would say that most people don’t just pick up a pack of cigarettes one day or buy them at the gas station knowing full well that they are unhealthy saying “ I think I’m going to start smoking today”. They are influenced by the people around them, that it’s a cool thing to do.
So let’s look at this market they are portraying to, “rise from the ashes, we’re all adults now – it’s time that we start acting like them”. That speaks directly to the market that the celebrity endorser represents. Middle-aged smokers who’s parents smoked, and who’s parent’s parents smoked are on target – but do they think this e-cig is cool? Maybe. However that isn’t the case – Smoking is cool, because the people around you think you look cool smoking. If you show up to the smoking hut with a piece of plastic with a blue dot on the end people are going to ask why you’ve got a flashlight in your mouth and offer you a cigarette.
I just think that they really messed up on the market that they were trying to appeal to, they need to make this Blu cigarette cool to everyone, something that everyone wants. Not just limit this market to people who are already addicted to nicotine and smoking, because then those smokers who transfer over to this E-cig are going to feel equally as ridiculed because most people think that the product is lame. If we look back to when cigarettes could actually advertise on TV, we saw an image of a hardworking cowboy on his steed looking over the horizon in a Marlboro campaign. Something that people wanted to be portrayed as, because Marlboro and other tobacco companies wanted a different image. They wanted people to feel like “cowboys and hard-asses” when they smoked their cigarettes, not shameful ridiculed addicts relying on E-cigs to get them through their nicotine cravings.
Does it get your attention? Yes. Do I hate the commercial? Yes. Am I instantly annoyed every time my back-to-back Seinfeld marathon is interrupted with a man wearing a jacket on a beach stroking his beard and walking nowhere? Yes! The ad is striking, because it does get your attention. However I don’t think that it is effective, because it’s making the non-smoker uninterested and form a negative connotation with the product. Which means every-time a smoker lights up, they will feel probably less cool than smoking an actual cigarette in front of non-smokers.
Using the five points from Burke to illustrate the commercial’s persuasive ability,it sheds a more in-depth perspective on its ability to convince the viewer.
- Act – A not very famous or very cool celebrity endorser acts as a smoker that has switched in order to rise from the ashes and act like an adult.
- Scene – On a black and white beach in some sort of tropical area. Appropriate, not in my opinion. I still can’t get over the fact that he is wearing a blazer on the beach, stroking his beard and walking nowhere. (my friends and I laugh every time we watch it and frequently re-enact the scene while dramatically walking into rooms or retrieving Pizza rolls from the freezer) I think that he talks to the audience correctly, but not the viewer.
- Agent – He is performing a middle aged long-term addicted smoker.
- Agency- To persuade current smokers to “rise from the ashes”
- Purpose – To get smokers to purchase their smoking alternative.
To finish off, I realize that this was effective in communicating to smokers that this “e-cig” is a more convenient and cleaner way to smoke. However, I think that they reached their audience the wrong way. I would guess that smoking is becoming less and less popular than it was say, 20 years ago. So if you are going to advertise a product on television , you can’t really discriminate by channel or network you are advertising it on – per people who do and don’t smoke. This media is broadcasted to everyone, and if they want smokers to switch, then they need everyone to desire it, not for the non-smoker to think it is lame because they are viewing a middle-aged, unrecognized actor try and make it seem cool. These kinds of advertising need to be broadcasted somewhere that smokers are the majority viewer, like on the back of Skoal cans or a $10 dollar off coupon with the purchase of a Remington Shotgun. Good product, huge market, wrong media output.