Cain’s ‘Smoking Man’ Sparks Hefty Donations and Parody

Quirky ad credited with $5M campaign surge

Headshot of David Griner

The strangest thing about GOP candidate Herman Cain's recent "smoking man" ad? It seems to be working. The Wall Street Journal reports that Cain's ad, featuring mustachioed campaign manager Mark Block, is credited with a massive surge of donations for the candidate. “Our donations online have shot up a lot since that ad,” Block told the WSJ, which tallies the campaign's October fundraising at $5 million. "Yes, the smoking part of that ad was controversial—and I don’t in any way condone smoking—but the message that Herman Cain is a different kind of presidential candidate is certainly resonating across the country.” The viral effect has even gone past the Cain campaign, with fellow Republican Jon Huntsman's daughters creating a parody "Smokin' Ad" (shown below) that has been viewed more than 128,000 times on YouTube. You can watch the original after the jump. 

@griner David Griner is creative and innovation editor at Adweek and host of Adweek's podcast, "Yeah, That's Probably an Ad."