Cuckoo Joins Rat in ‘Reject All Tobacco’

ATLANTA Maris, West & Baker recently launched its latest television ad for The Partnership for a Healthy Mississippi, the shop said.

The Jackson, Miss., shop’s “Reject all tobacco” campaign targets 6-11-year-old children and features a new animated character named “Cuckoo.” The new spot, produced by Eyevox in Ridgeland, Miss., is airing on local network affiliates throughout Mississippi, the agency said.

In the 30-second “Cuckoo,” a clockmaker is shown sitting at his work desk smoking a pipe, when Cuckoo the bird emerges from the clock on the wall. But, instead of signaling the time, the character gasps, wheezes and collapses from exposure to secondhand smoke. The spot ends with the bird holding a sign saying, “Cuckoo.”

The ad also features an appearance by “Terrance the rat” urging the audience, “You better tell somebody.” Terrance has appeared in every commercial in the “Reject all tobacco” campaign to date, and is well-known by children in Mississippi, according to the shop.

“Kids across the state know Terrence by name,” said Sharon Garrison, public relations manager for the client. “This recognition has helped us achieve a 47 percent reduction in smoking among middle school students since 1999.”

Tana Kosiyabong, art director at MWB, said the campaign is meant to encourage children to refrain from or stop smoking.

“We wanted to show children, in an imaginative way, that secondhand smoke can cause difficulty breathing and even asthma,” said Kosiyabong.

Campaign spending was undisclosed.