Monday, June 22, 2009

My Father Likes....

My son made me a card for Father's Day. It was cute as hell, but it also got me thinking about one I made for my Dad, more than 30 years ago, that almost got made into a social marketing campaign.

Here's the cover:

That's right — Dad likes to smoke. Like many 1970s parents, he saw nothing wrong with smoking around kids. And strangers were hardly more concerned. We Gen-X kids just got used to the fact that we had to breathe in smoke at home, in the car, at restaurants, even on trains and planes. Second-hand smoke was just a fact of life. And if I got the occasional ear infection, well that was too.

How times have changed, eh? Polite society is mostly smoke-free now, at least in public enclosed spaces. You can go to a bar without smelling like an ashtray, and pretty much expect that your kids won't be subjected to smoke. (Even Dad goes outside now to smoke at home... thanks Dad!)

But the situation is not all roses. Despite the fact that Ontario has passed a law against smoking in a car with kids, I still see it happening all the time. I know that there's not much I can do personally, but professionally I've always wanted to do an effective anti-second-hand-smoke campaign. (I've worked with a partner Aboriginal advertising agency to do targeted campaigns for Health Canada, but they were a whole different approach.)

So I worked with the team here at Acart to mock up an approach for a pitch where a modern dad gets his Father's Day card from his child, sees that the smoke is marring his parental image, and decides to smoke away from his kids from now on. The client didn't buy it.

Maybe I should have pitched it to the tobacco companies. After all, when I was a kid I seem to have had a real knack for branding:

So, does anyone want to buy a slightly used social marketing concept?


  1. Super weak concepts, Tom. That filter is way to long. You didn't include the client's URL. Also, is that some sort of pygmy in a blood-rimmed jar?