Trion Backs R.I. Smoke-Out

BOSTON A smoky diner is the setting for a new 30-second commercial from Trion Communications for the American Cancer Society.

As a waitress serves a rude customer who blows smoke in her face, another burly guy (sans shirt and slacks) lurks in a booth in the background. “The ‘No shirt, No shoes, No service’ policy was created to protect you from unhealthy and unsanitary conditions,” a voiceover says. “So, where’s the law for second-hand smoke?”

The spot closes with the tagline, “Let’s clear the air in restaurants,” and directs viewers to the Cancer Society’s Rhode Island Web site and information line. It begins airing next week in support of both municipal and statewide proposals to ban smoking in Rhode Island restaurants. The budget is estimated in the mid six-figure range.

An effort was made to communicate “the irony of the fact that we regulate whether people have their shoes and shirts on, but we don’t take any action to regulate second-hand smoke,” said Josh Fenton, Trion principal. There’s a chance the work will be adapted for use throughout New England, Fenton said.

Providence, R.I.-based Trion and the ACS last May teamed on a hard-hitting anti-smoking effort that included print ads and billboards intended to spark opposition to a proposal to use tobacco-settlement funds to reduce the state’s budget shortfall. Executions showed the state Capitol with a graveyard of shadowy crosses on its main lawn. Copy blasted a proposal to sell $600 million in tax-exempt bonds to private investors. That sale would be funded by the money the state expects to receive over the next 40 years from the settlement made by tobacco companies with 46 states to cover smoking-related healthcare costs. Though the measure did pass, money was set aside to continue the state’s tobacco-education program, Fenton said.