Note: I wrote this as a final paper for a class, I'm unsure at the moment whether I intend to keep working on it and expand upon it further. It's currently a 12 page one-act.
Ever since that dickhead Nixon put the kibosh on T.V and radio advertising, our jobs have gotten that much more difficult. Those are two major mediums! Factor in the Truth campaign and it’s a surprise we’re still on the payroll.
Let’s not overdramatize, Carl. We’re selling a product that sells itself. Plus, I recall the World Bank reporting that a partial advertising ban has little to no effect on reducing tobacco consumption. There are other dynamics involved, I’m sure. I doubt the Truth campaign people have put a significant dent in our revenues, so I’m guessing either more people are switching to pot, or these damned increased taxes are forcing people to quit cold turkey. Whatever it is, we can try and fix it. We just have to be smart about it.
You don’t think some of the Truth ads have changed people’s minds?
Carl, do you like potato chips?
Sure I do.
Can you name every single ingredient in your favorite potato chips?
Including the preservatives? No, I probably couldn’t.
And if you saw an ad that listed every single ingredient in potato chips, would it change your mind about eating them?
No, I’ll eat them anyway because I like potato chips.
(Takes a drink)
We learned this back in ad school – more information doesn’t necessarily lead to better decision making. The Truth people can put out all the propaganda it wants about the 4000+ ingredients in the common cigarette, but the truth is (no pun intended), that we are exposed to a lot of the same chemicals and carcinogens every single day. Every time we go outside on a sunny day, our risk of developing skin cancer increases. If you spent all your time worrying about every single component of your cigarette, like every single ingredient in your potato chip, you’d probably never leave the house- you might as well just curl up and die.
He’s right Carl, but I don’t want to turn this meeting into a back and forth on the merits and shortcomings of anti-tobacco advertising, so I’ll end by saying – let them put out whatever “truthful” information they want, our job is to locate the important variables in a consumer’s decision making process – and highlight the shit out of them in glossy magazines while we still can.
I’ll drink to that!
Here is a long speech given by Fox's daughter occurring as a stage flashback at the end of the play:
“Why do you light up? Stress relief maybe, sometimes it just feels good. I like menthols. Menthols give you that cool, soothing sensation on your tongue that might be too intense if you ever tried to replicate the effect with gum or a mint. Hell, I barely inhale the smoke, but I’ll smoke occasionally - rarely might be more accurate, in fact. But there’s a vintage glamour about it, even if you’re anti-smoking, you can’t get past the almost visceral manifestation of sexy-cool beatniks lounging in smoky jazz bars, talking philosophy, life and love, some strung out and looking blasé; the image of Humphrey Bogart climbing out of his car in an unnamed city where it seems to rain all the time, belting his trench coat and walking into the home of a woman who might be the missing link to a pending investigation, and sharing a cigarette, mini bottle of rye and innuendo with her before getting down to brass tacks.
How do you put into words the acrid nostalgia that hits you on your face the minute you walk into a 20+ year old hotel or any casino? There’s a Jungian grace about it – it’s choking and intrusive, yet subdued and oddly comforting.
Some things have changed – I wouldn’t find a man buying me a pack of smokes romantic and I’m not sure who would outside a trailer park or prison block.
When I smoke and write I feel like Albert Camus, though I’m not nearly as intellectual. It gets my creative juices flowing, my brain cooperates in producing dialog, arguments and images – the part of my brain that isn’t focused on knocking off ash or making sure I don’t burn some part of my arm. But I try to smoke when I’m alone, with other smokers, or somewhere public enough where any residual stench on my hair and clothing doesn’t really matter. I have a very big pet peeve about having to deal with the smell of fresh cigarette smoke coming off the body of student who has just sat next to me in a class, even if other seats were available. It sucks, and it almost makes me gag, but so does the smell of Doritos, and I wouldn’t want those banned.
The list of things I don’t like could go on for a while, but I won’t rattle off a boring list. Its summer now, and often I can’t help but unfortunately remain fixated on the sight of dimpled and rippled skin in a pair of short shorts. It sucks, and part of me wants to tell them to stop the madness, but I don’t, because they’re human too. I’m actually asthmatic, smoke can bug me at times, but I have never gone to the hospital because of it, I did however have to visit the hospital at 15 because of an asthma attack triggered by a strongly perfumed shampoo, but I never intended to sue the manufacturer.
I’ve always tried to make it a point to tell people not to keep their mouth shut, that they should always stand up for what they think is right, even if others, including myself, think they’re a complete moron. I won’t like what you’re saying, but I will like that you’re saying it, and I will respect you more than the blindly assimilated civilian who cruises through life never once challenging the system.
If you oppose public smoking, by all means, make noise and be heard – but don’t expect business owners to listen to you and walk away with their tail between their legs. Their bottom line is as important as yours. If a private business owner thinks a smoking ban will increase profits by attracting more customers who are averse to smoke rather than smoking customers, let him ban it, but don’t force him to do so through the barrel of a gun.”