Wednesday, August 09, 2006

My Idea for a New "Truth" Campaign Commercial

Here’s my offering of a 30-second television commercial for the “truth” campaign. It is modeled after the current campaign in which tobacco executives are shown sitting around a board room table trying to think of ways to entice young people to smoke. Different executives present various ideas, all taken from tobacco industry documents, and a laugh track follows each of these seemingly crazy and funny ideas (like “how about putting chocolate in the cigarettes?”).

Here, however, the “executives” are anti-smoking advocates sitting around a conference room table trying to figure out how to convince the public of the dangers of secondhand smoke and the need to ban it in public places.

The Rest of the Story: Proposed Script for a “Truth” Commercial

Advocate 1: So here’s the problem. People just aren’t paying attention to all this talk about secondhand smoke being harmful. All this talk about the hazards of chronic exposure, the benzene, radioactive polonium, and hydrogen cyanide just aren’t cutting it. We need something worse – much, much worse – that can grab people’s attention. Something quicker, more potent. Any ideas?

Advocate 2: Yeah – how about saying that it kills instantaneously.

(laugh track)

Advocate 3: Well, people won’t believe that. But, let’s say…. 30 minutes. Yeah, 30 minutes. It causes hardening of the arteries. Just 30 minutes of exposure.

(laugh track)

Advocate 4: And fatal cardiac arrhythmias.

(laugh track)

Advocate 3: Oooh. That sounds nasty.

Advocate 5: How about this? Just 20 minutes of exposure can clog your arteries?

(laugh track)

Advocate 2: Yeah. That’s good. Clogging sounds good.

Advocate 1: Can we get anything quicker than that? Five minutes perhaps? Anybody?

(laugh track)

Advocate 6: Hey, I’ve got it. Just 5 minutes of exposure causes the aorta to stiffen and makes it harder for the heart to pump.

(laugh track)

Advocate 1: Nice. These plumbing analogies are going to fly with the public.

(laugh track)

Advocate 1: But we still need something nasty in the secondhand smoke. And I mean really nasty.

Advocate 2: I’ve got it. Sardines. Spoiled sardines.

(laugh track)

(long pause)

Advocate 3: Rat poison?

Advocate 1: Already been used.

Advocate 4: Toilet bowl cleaner?

Advocate 6: Used.

Advocate 7: Cockroach dander.

Advocate 1: Not believable.

Advocate 8: Asbestos?

(laugh track)

Advocate 1: Now we’re cooking. Nasty stuff. Brings up images of that stuff flaking off of insulation in old houses. Millions of dollars spent trying to get rid of the fibers.

Advocate 4: Won’t people question how those fibers could have gotten into the smoke?

Advocate 8: Who do you think the public is? We’re not putting out this stuff for scientists.

(laugh track)

Advocate 4: What if the tobacco companies call us on this?

Advocate 2: Bruce – it’s 2006 now. Wake up. The tobacco companies haven’t challenged anything we’ve said in the past four years. All we have to worry about is that crazy Mike Siegel’s blog.

(extended laugh track)

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