The Planet Mars: Smoking or Non?

With so much public attention focused on NASA’s Mars expedition, Arizona’s antitobacco education program couldn’t resist an opportunity to use the event to deliver a message to teenagers in a humorous way.
In a 30-second TV spot from Phoenix ad agency Riester Corp. (shown here), the Sojourner Truth rover collects samples from Mars’ surface. A mechanical arm scoops up what appears to be a cigarette butt. The scene cuts to a shot of mission control, where one scientist says to another, “So that’s what happened to life on Mars.”
The spot uses realistic color and black-and-white shots resembling the real Sojourner transmissions, agency executives said.
It went from concept to completion in less than three weeks, and is running in Arizona markets through the end of the month.
“The Mars phenomenon was such a huge kids’ thing,” said Riester representative David Anderson. “We wanted to get [the message out] as soon as we could.”
The spot closes with the campaign’s tag: “Tobacco. Tumor-causing, teeth-staining, smelly, puking habit.”
–Angela Dawson