31 March 2008

Why don't they make 'em like this anymore?

The 1960s. Back when PSAs had attitude.

Move over, Marlboro Man, meet ... Johnny Smoke:

And the granddaddy of all anti-smoking spots:

Somewhere in my video stash is a real goodie from this time frame. Bride and groom - montage of the ceremony, marching out of the church, the thrown rice, and the newlyweds getting into the back of their rented limo. As all this is going on, you hear the preacher: "do you, take this woman, to be your lawfully wedded wife...."

When the voiceover gets to "till death do you part", new hubby pulls out his pack of Luckies, and lights up. The frame stops as he's taking a puff, and the word "death" echoes -- "till DEATH-ath-ath-ath-ath-ath...." -- as the American Cancer Society logo appears on screen. Fade to black.

The late '60s were a golden age for these PSAs, as the FCC mandated so many of them be aired as "equal time" for cigarette commercials. These had teeth, and when the feds finally banned radio and TV ciggy ads (January 2, 1971), the tobacco companies were far happier than upset. Why? Because these PSAs worked and the smoking rate declined; when the cigarette spots were yanked, stations no longer had this mandate ... and these PSAs decreased in exposure, as well.

These spots were way more effective than what passes for anti-smoking PSAs today.

"Think about it."

Ciao for niao.

--Talmadge "Proudly smoke-free since 1965*" Gleck

* = if you don't count 20+ years' worth of second-hand smoke from my mother's "Salem Menthols"
You can take Salem out of the country, but ....
.... you can't take the Salem from my mo-ther!

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