“Typo”

The American Legacy Foundation’s nearly decade-old “Truth” anti-smoking campaign has taken many satirical twists and turns through the years, from the dramatic to the droll.

The latest spot, “Typo,” from Arnold and Crispin Porter + Bogusky, takes the award-winning effort back to the beginning, when teens took to the streets to perform hard-hitting demonstrations in front of tobacco industry headquarters. Remember the chilling spot that had teens stacking body bags in front of a cigarette company to show how many people cigarettes kill a day?

In this new commercial from the new “Sunny Side of Truth” campaign, the seriousness of the same subject is put to song as teens contemplate how 5 million people around the world could die from the habit. “Maybe we’re being too negative,” considers one teen, after unfurling a giant poster listing “Tobacco related deaths.” “Look on the bright side. Maybe it’s a typo or something.”

They then break out into song and dance, with animated typewriters dancing along with them and accentuating the rhythm in the up-tempo chorus, “It must have a been a typo, typo, typo.” Composed by Broadway’s David Yazbek (The Fully Monty, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels), the musical number incorporates all sorts of “Truths” spewed by the tobacco companies, e.g., “cigarette smoke contains benzene?” as the typewriters chime in, “Typo!” The retro-looking animated cast includes a bottle of correction fluid that whizzes across the screen as the typewriters’ papers swirl around and litter the street, as puzzled pedestrians pause to watch.

The “Truth” team again takes the somber facts about smoking and serves them up to teens in the entertaining, sarcastic-soaked style that just may make them sit up and take notice. And, most importantly, never pick up a smoke. -Eleftheria Parpis