Anti-Smoking Ad

April 6, 2009

Alright so I found this earlier on AdAge through a post by Ken Wheaton.

I watched this commercial before reading what Mr. Wheaton had to say about it. I’m not a smoker so this does not affect me directly, but I still think it’s a great ad. While I cannot speak for smokers, I do feel that it would have some sort of an impact on their thinking when purchasing another pack; at least for smoking mothers. How could you not feel some form of sadness when this little boy loses his mom and starts to cry?

The realness of this ad is “…leading some to call in complaints to the Department of Health” (Ken Wheaton). People are complaining because they believe that this little boy was not acting, he was put in a situation where he did react by crying. Now, this boy, who appears to be between 3-5 years of age, may be a “beyond his years” actor. However, in my own opinion, I have to believe this is not the case, and the boy was forced into a crying moment. I doubt that it was the exact situation depicted in the ad, losing his mother, but probably some other tragic situation. Donny Deutsch discusses this possibility with Matt Lauer, just scroll down.

Is this okay to do?

I am 100% for it. If in fact this kid was sadly forced to cry, I doubt it was anywhere near a life-altering experience. And in return, he’s helping everyone by getting people to quit smoking. I lost my mother once when I was probably around that age, maybe older. We were waiting in a checkout line at Stop & Shop, I turned and she was gone. Yea, I started to cry, who wouldn’t. She had only moved a couple checkout counters over, I just wasn’t paying attention. She had her eyes on me though, so I was still safe. My point is that for those few moments I was lost, and alone, and I cried. Does that moment affect me at all now? Nope. Granted, this kid was at a train station or whatever it was, so the disarray and fear he would have experienced was far greater, but the creeps that can be found at Stop & Shop can be just as horrifying.

Just because this ad targets smoking mothers, doesn’t mean they are the only ones who take something from this. The general message is about how ones smoking can result in tragic consequences for your loved ones. If a smoker unfortunately reaches the end of their line, they aren’t the only ones that are suffering the consequences. Loved ones, especially their children, have to deal with the consequences as well, and that can sure make current smokers have a guilty conscience about what they are potentially doing. For anyone who smokes and has children, watch that ad, and try to not feel guilty or heavy-hearted.


2 Responses to “Anti-Smoking Ad”

  1. Hi Bryan!

    First I want to say thanks for the comments on my own blog yesterday! What school do you go to? As for your take on the above commercial, I agree that it is an ad that would touch many peoples hearts and also convince many to change their smoking habits. It is quite a powerful ad because of the reality of it. However, I did find my mind wandering to whether or not the child was actually put in that situation, or whether he was just “an actor beyond his years” as you put it. Much like the “Truth” commercials that are always played on MTV, sometimes reality must be used in a viral and dramatic way in order to reach a larger target audience. Well said, Bryan!

  2. Tina Ricard said


    Thank you for touching upon such an important issue…Hopefully, more and more people, over time, will become aware of the dangers and negative consequences of it, as well as the reality of the damage it creates, not only for the person(s) partaking in it, but also for the ones witnessing the suffering during the battle and the aftermath in the end.
    Having been personally touched by this very issue, I greatly appreciate anyone bringing it to light and allowing opportunity for further discussions. I truly believe that the best defense is to EDUCATE oneself…to obtain KNOWLEDGE. My Aunt/Godmother, who was very much like a mother to me, passed away due to her history of years of cigarette smoking…she was only 53 years old…way too young to suffer the way she did just to ultimately lose her courageous battle in the end. I was among family members who witnessed her suffering during her last days & hours as well as being by her bedside as she finally succumbed…truthfully, it was hell. Obviously, we all still miss her very much, but I am now much more affected emotionally whenever I see any type of ad or commercial such as the one referenced above. So, in closing, I agree with you. In order to make the most effective & widespread impact possible, which basically IS the desired outcome of such an ad or commercial, then using the shocking dramatic truth of it all to “hit an emotional place” within people, in my opinion, makes the most sense.

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