Vermont agency Kelliher Samets Volk has launched an online magazine, Nikoteen, to help the Vermont Department of Health skewer Big Tobacco's marketing practices. The site is designed to mimic youth-focused Web venues that deal with music, celebs, sports and horoscopes. For example, there's a fictitious review of the fictitious band Smoke N Mirrerz's fictitious CD Ashes to Ashes. It merited 5.5 cigarette butts, with a perfect 6.0 no doubt reserved for Bowie's original. There's also a poll asking which band member is hottest: the shy one, the dead one or one of two other disfigured ones. I'm not sure how this skewers tobacco ads, most of which use luxe/sexy imagery rather than faux-rockers to entice teens. In fact, since it's somewhat more entertaining and considerably edgier than actual youth/celeb sites, Nikoteen's intense focus on tobacco products tends to cast smoking in an oddly compelling light, albeit a negative one—but negative in a good way, like dangerous and cool. Besides, we all know that sweet, soothing haze rolling over the audience at the Smoke N Mirrerz shows isn't from cigarettes.
—Posted by David Gianatasio