An Ancient Greek philosopher named Epicurus believed that humans can only attain happiness happiness by moving towards pleasure, or away from pain (Masse 2005). Appealing to these human drivers particularly resonates in marketing campaigns around the world.
Take for example the 66 iconic ads that apple ran from 2006-2009. A famous set of ads that represent Apple’s MacBooks vs PC’s. The viewer of these ads experiences a want to be like the Mac, who’s creative, cool and easy – but also wants to stray away from an older styled, less efficient and buggy PC. While its a small microcosm example of two big drivers for all humans, it highlights the effectiveness of appealing to both drivers for happiness.
Compare this now to some Australia’s recent advertising campaigns.
The cigarette packaging alone speaks volumes on Australia’s style of advertising. The packaging highlights the extremely negative impact smoking can have on someone in extreme cases.
Many campaigns focus on other negative more medium termed issues caused by smoking, commonly respiratory issues, under performing in sport and symptoms like coughing.
Australian campaigns quite often come in the form of educational pieces aimed to raise awareness about cigarettes.
The Cultural Proposal for the Positive Side of Smoking
Unlike the apple advertisements, Australian media only focuses on the negative around smoking and paints a picture of living a better life by moving away from the pain caused by smoking. But theres some limitations to this – a lot of people don’t want to watch graphic ads, some people who haven’t experienced similar symptoms or stories may struggle to relate and others believe that they will never get to that.
I think culturally speaking, smoking is regarded in a much better light. In particular, in youth when many smoking habits form, smoking can be viewed as something thats social, cool, fun, rebellious or relaxing.
In Indonesia out of the children aged between 13 and 15, over 20% smoke (Tobacco Free Kids, 2017). Culture paints smoking in a more positive light which is favoured over the negative advertisements. I interviewed an Indonesian man called Anthony who has been smoking since he was 12.
“I have been smoking since I was 12. It started out as something me and my friends would do to rebel at school and then just for fun. But now I do it because I have to”.
In this critical age where youth are listen more to positive culture than negative advertisements, I think we can apply similar principles to the iconic Apple ads and run campaigns that instead of focusing on the negative side of smoking, focus on the positive side of not smoking. Then we can start to work on culture that understands the potential negative side of smoking to.
Masse, M. (2005, April 15). THE EPICUREAN ROOTS OF SOME CLASSICAL LIBERAL AND MISESIAN CONCEPTS. Retrieved November 26, 2018, from http://www.quebecoislibre.org/07/071111-4.htm
Lo, A. (2012, December 09). Retrieved November 26, 2018, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0eEG5LVXdKo – Youtube reference, original from Apple Company.
NCD Alliance. (2018, July 3). Retrieved November 27, 2018, from https://ncdalliance.org/news-events/news/wto-backs-australia’s-plain-packaging
The Toll of Tobacco in Indonesia. (2018, November 16). Retrieved November 28, 2018, from https://www.tobaccofreekids.org/problem/toll-global/asia/indonesia
Cigarettes and poison. (2017, June 07). Retrieved November 27, 2018, from http://www.quitnow.gov.au/internet/quitnow/publishing.nsf/Content/cigarettes-and-poison
Quit stalling. (2018, July 2). Retrieved November 26, 2018, from https://www.cancer.nsw.gov.au/how-we-help/cancer-prevention/stopping-smoking/quit-smoking-campaigns/quit-stalling