Secret Pop

May 5, 2005

reverse psychology

There is a commercial making the rounds right now with Melissa Paull playing a girl who says she's not a smoker because she only smokes occasionally and doesn't actually buy her own cigarettes. It's all done in voiceover with the action being her smoking outside a bar, smoking outside the office, brushing her teeth in the office bathroom, et cetera. And the zinger at the end is something to the effect of, "Admit it. You're a smoker." Or "Face it. You're a smoker." And I realized that when I watch this, it does not have the impact on me that I'm assuming it's intended to. I'm assuming it's intended to stigmatize even casual smoking behavior and make people who bum the occasional fag feel self-conscious of the fact that they are among the loathsome ranks of the ACTUAL smokers of the world. But when I watch it, I instead think, "Hm. I guess you're right. I guess I AM a smoker. Maybe I should invest in a good lighter and start having cigarettes delivered to my home by mail. All this occasionally not having the right implements on hand when I feel like lighting up is for the birds." The next time it's on, I'll check the notices to see if it's actually an advert for the tobacco lobby. Because if it is, I'd have to say, they're pretty smart over there. And I would expect this to be an early entry in a wave of fake PSAs from manufacturers who must resort to subversive tactics to convert a sale. "Face it. You live near a nuclear power plant." "Wise up. You have a membership at an adult video rental." "Let's be honest here. You are living on convenience food and breath mints and trying to make ends meet by selling the prorated remaining portion of your gym membership on craigslist."

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