Magazines are dying, and so are the readers

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