Killer Marketing

Nowhere in any industry does the term “killer marketing” apply better than in Big Tobacco.

If Big Tobacco is successful in marketing its products to existing addicts, ex addicts and new victims, it will definitely kill its target audience.

And it seems that marketing executives have become so “clever” (if that’s the word you would use to describe somebody who’s found a way into talking somebody into doing something that will end his or her life) it frightens me.

One of my Quit Buds has been smoke-free for 233 days. Her addiction manifested in the form of Camels before she decided to break free. I can’t imagine that a tobacco company could know that she specifically had quit, or hadn’t purchased any of their product in over 200 days… but something caused them to decide to send her some coupons this week. They had never sent her coupons in the mail before. It freaked her out.

What was worse – they came in the exact shape and size of a pack of sickarettes.

Her words are the best to use in describing her feelings…

I about screamed. I was feeling so weak and I thought they had mailed me a pack of cigarettes… I opened it really slowly, like I was defusing a bomb or something… later I laughed at my overreaction…

Maybe to a tobacco company, that would be cause for laughter. Not for me. As she told me of her experience I was almost numb with shock. I’m about 440 days into my Quit (438 to be exact) and if that had happened to me, I would have over-reacted. I would have rushed to the kitchen and found the tongs in the utility drawer.

Smoking Camel PictureI’d don my HAZ-MAT gear and put on rubber gloves, and take those tongs to pick up the pack with. Carefully… slowly… I’d put the pack into the sink and turn on the water – full force! While the water rushed over the pack, I’d take my meat tenderizer and pound the stuffings out of the pack and let the water rinse away the whole mess. Then I’d turn on the garbage disposer and leave it running for 20 minutes. That’s nothing to play with!

Now I’m seeing Homer Simpson in my head. [rolling eyes]

I keep a stack of index cards handy, where I used to keep my pack of smokes. There are about 75 cards in the pack. It grows over time because on each card I have carefully written one reason why I enjoy being free, one benefit to not having to be a slave to a tobacco addiction any longer, one phrase or comment a family member has made to tell me how glad they are I’ll be around a while longer than if I’d continued to smoke.

So if I ever do get a piece of “killer advertising”… I’ll be ready with my own pack to reach for.


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