Hades’ Celebrities Of Death Are The Stars
ATLANTA–Though some may think that televised awards shows have been done to death, a new anti-smoking television commercial aimed at teens from Crispin Porter & Bogusky has created one that showcases those who contribute to the end of life as we know it.
The ad was developed by the Miami-based agency for its Florida Tobacco Program client, an organization created and funded by the $200 million legal settlement between the state and the American tobacco industry. The state program receives $25 million of those funds to deliver its message.
The television commercial is a parody of awards shows, complete with all the trappings, e.g., block-long limousines, wafer-thin models in shimmery gowns and noxious presenters. In the audience at the presentation ceremony, being broadcast to home viewers “from beautiful downtown Hades,” are deathly luminaries such as members of the Ku Klux Klan, Joseph Stalin and Adolf Hitler. The latter even flashes his Aryan salute when the camera pans to him.
The devilish looking master of ceremonies comes out to announce the award for “the greatest number of deaths in a single year.” In the running are suicide, illicit drug use, murder and tobacco.
The winner is tobacco, for the ninth straight year. In his acceptance speech the tobacco character makes a point to thank all the smokers who made the award possible. The voiceover chimes in with the fact that tobacco-related illnesses account for more deaths than drugs, murder, suicide, AIDS and automobile fatalities combined, according to the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta.
That fact was the catalyst for the television spot.
“When we showed kids that statistic, they were amazed by it,” said agency copywriter David Clemons. “So we took that and tried to think of a cool way we could use it to reach kids. But it had to be humorous, because if we made it too heavy or preachy, they wouldn’t be interested [in the message].”
Crispin Porter & Bogusky’s television commercial made its debut last week in a business-style awards show environment at Planet Hollywood in Coconut Grove, Fla. Ersatz “celebrities from hell” mingled with members of the Miami chapter of Students Working Against Tobacco (SWAT). The spot was introduced by John Johnson, who appeared in an earlier program spot, also produced by Crispin.
“The ad continues the tradition of delivering a serious message with a touch of humor,” Johnson said. “Comparing tobacco executives to genocidal maniacs is an analogy long overdue. With this ad we do it while managing to leave the viewer with a smile on his face.”
The ad will appear on television stations throughout South Florida into the fall. It will air during teen-oriented TV programming such as Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Dawson’s Creek.
Among agency personnel chalking up production credits for the spot are creative director Alex Bogusky, art director Clemons, copywriter Tom Adams, producer Terry Stavoe and director Jeff Gorman.