American Legacy “Spin”

Ex-smokers have outnumbered current smokers in the U.S. for some years now. As such, it’d be silly to treat smokers as helpless pawns of Big Tobacco, though that has been the implication of many anti-smoking ads. While it’s not easy to quit the habit, smokers have free will, just like other people, and new spots for the American Legacy campaign (by GSD&M Idea City) tap into that fact in an engaging, non-hectoring way. They point to choices smokers make as a matter of course and ask them to make one more. In the spot shown here, the voiceover remarks on the fact that “You don’t drive every time you smoke. Yet, you smoke every time you drive.” And we meet a man who apparently does feel obliged to drive every time he smokes — so much so that he hijacks a delivery van and takes it for a spin as he has an afternoon cigarette. This unusual spectacle paves the way for the voiceover’s reasonable statement that “Driving and smoking don’t have to go together.” Another spot in the series shows an office worker whipping up an elaborate cocktail to take along for her sidewalk cigarette break — in this case, making the point that while you may smoke every time you drink, you don’t drink every time you smoke, which means the connection is susceptible to being broken. It’s a smart approach, chipping away at the sub-habits that help make the overall smoking habit hard, but not impossible, to break. By the time the spot invites smokers to visit the Web site, the suggestion seems a cordial rather than a browbeating one. –Mark Dolliver