POST D: Advertised Destruction

Throughout these past 6 days in Ambon I have noticed a large contrast between Australian and Indonesian cigarette advertisement. For this specific blog post I have taken the time to observe and document all the cigarette advertisements I have identified on a 2.8 KM walk around the city of Ambon. At first, I didn’t notice any cigarette advertisement at all until I went into a store and saw the branded cigarette packages. I discovered that the advertisements had been in my face the whole time and the Ambon city streets are covered with them, most streets on my walk had a different type of advertisements every 15 metres (refer to the hand drawn map below). As seen in the below images the advertisement comes in many shapes and sizes, and at a glance don’t even look like tobacco advertisement.

Different types of Tobacco Advertisement in Ambon streets (BAWDEN 2019)
Minimalistic Map of Tobacco Advertisement in Ambon City (Bawden 2019)

I was so shocked to see how direct some of the advertisements were. As seen in the images below, you can see that the tobacco company have designed the ads to be so minimalistic yet so powerful. Some of the advertisements literally say, “Go ahead”, telling people to smoke and reassuring them that it is okay to smoke. The one that shocked me the most was “Never Quit” by Surya PRO, this to me is so wrong in many ways, I really do hope that the Indonesian government follows the Australian government and makes it illegal to advertise anything related to tobacco.

“Go Ahead” Advertisement (Bawden 2019)

In 2012, Indonesia set a new tobacco advertisement regulation, limiting the advertising, promotion and sponsorship controls (Swandew and Freeman 2017). But as seen in these photographs the advertisements are still everywhere and very direct. What also surprised me is the percentage of the advertisement display that needs to be a warning, for a lot of the images it was hard to see the warning sign and for some the warning did not even look like a warning. Another thing I found very interesting on my walk was that in one of the main streets of the city where the schools and banks were in, there was no advertisement for tobacco and no were tobacco was sold other then an old lady with a basket of cigarette packets at a bus stop. Overall this observation session was a big culture shock for me and I am glad to be a part of a large mural painting in the centre of the city with anti-tobacco advertisement.

Small Waring Sign on Advertisement (Bawden 2019)

Astuti PAS and Freeman B 2017, “It is merely a paper tiger.” Battle for increased tobacco advertising regulation in Indonesia, viewed 17 January 2019, < >.
Reynolds, Catherine 1999, Tobacco advertising in Indonesia: “the defining characteristics for success”, viewed 17 January 2019,

Fariz Nurwidya , Fumiyuki Takahashi , Hario Baskoro , Moulid Hidayat , Faisal Yunus , Kazuhisa Takahashi 2014, Strategies for an effective tobacco harm reduction policy in Indonesia, viewed 18 January 2019, <>.

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