Truth is out with a new anti-smoking ad, and it's a long way from stacking body bags outside the offices of tobacco companies.
"Left Swipe Dat," created by 72andSunny, features a parade of young pop stars and YouTube personalities singing a novelty song about rejecting people on the dating app Tinder for featuring cigarettes in their profile pictures. Singer Becky G anchors the video, with X-Factor-born girl group Fifth Harmony handling backup. Comedians King Bach and Timothy DeLeGhetto act as hype men. Harley Mortenstein of Epic Meal Time, Grace Helbig of it'sGrace, and AlphaCat each spit a guest verse. There are also cameos from Anna Akana, Jimmy Tatro and Terrence J.
In other words, if you were born before 1992 and don't spend all of your time on YouTube, it's exactly the right thing to make you feel old and confused and terrified.
Back in the late '90s and early '00s, teenagers smoked even though they knew it was bad for them, because the cool thing to do was not caring that it was bad for them. In fact, this video is exactly the kind of thing that would have made a teenager want to smoke, because a distant slow and painful death would have seemed preferable to the shame of being in any way aligned with such an earnest train wreck of an attempt to make something seem cool or not cool. Teens used to be smart, and dumb, like that. So, putting piles of dead people on screen was, like the other melodramatic but statistically driven scare tactics of the classic Truth campaign, in those days a much better bet.
Now, who knows?
Over-the-top crazy antics, bubblegum pop and exploding rainbows are what the kids are into these days, right? Also smartphones and Tinder? Or is all that stuff passé? It goes almost without saying that any teen anti-smoking message is a good message (assuming it doesn't send them running in the opposite direction). It's good, even if it is a bald-faced play to make teens think smoking means they won't get laid, which is probably pretty scary for a lot of teens, too. Though ostensibly this is also aimed at millennials? Or are they just like overgrown teens? Questions abound.
Some Becky G fans, and Fifth Harmony fans—Harmonizers, as they call themselves—seem to like the clip, when they're not busy hating it, and each other, for the perceived slight that their preferred stars didn't get enough screen time. Others seem baffled, too, but they watched, for their idols.
So maybe the whole thing is pretty sensible. Or maybe it's better described as Satan-spawned earworm with a heart of gold.
Either way, after watching it, you'll need a drink.
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