Post A : Designers and Cigarette Advertising

Julier (2013) stated in one of his books that design has become a global phenomenon. It also contributes to the evolution of individual humans (Fuad-Luke, 2013). Design is much needed in order to create a sustainable environment. A movement called design activism is about using our talent as a designer to create an impact for a better world (Dzera 2016).

In Jogjakarta, advertisements about tobacco can be seen everywhere. Those advertisements produced by tobacco companies do not only promote the cigarette product itself but also often promotes local events that are supported by those companies. This shows how strong tobacco businesses are in Jogjakarta. Based on a research done by Komisi Nasional Perlindungan Anak (KPAI) in 2007, it is proven that all cigarette industry marketing activities are a systematical chain that has the intention to recruit kids and teenagers to be a smoker (Alfi 2012). Most of the cigarettes advertising that exist with their symbolic language invite people to dream, fly, and imagine the happiness that ended up consuming offered product, in this case, a cigarette (Tanudjaja 2004). 

Cigarette advertising next to a junior high school sign in Palembang (Alfi, 2012).

There is already rules and restrictions for cigarette advertising, whether it is from the local government or international (Tanudjaja 2004). However, it is proven that those rules are not effective to restrain people’s imagination of smoking, but instead triggers brilliant ideas and work (Alfi 2012). Often, cigarette advertisings are the ones who won awards in art competitions and festivals. Even though the government has already released restrictions in producing cigarette advertising, there is still some weakness and failing in those rules which are being abused by cigarette companies. They believe that they have already given a huge impact and influence for the government in terms of funding and taxes, as well as providing employment. These circumstances are being used by cigarette companies to strengthen their bargaining position. (Tanudjaja 2004). 

For now, it does seem impossible to forbid all tobacco advertising from being published, whether it is through banners, posters, newspapers, or televisions since tobacco companies will not stop looking for the Grey Area in government’s regulations. Governments can only restrict the number of advertisements being published. As designers, through design activism, we can all find solutions to this problem. Art competition organizers can also start holding an event for design competitions that accept poster of public health awareness instead of smoking advertisements. Holding an event supported by charitable organizations instead of tobacco companies may be a solution too.

Reference Lists :

Alfi, C. F, 2012, Mengetuk Pintu Hati Desainer Iklan Rokok, viewed 19 December 2019, <>.

Dzera, L. 2016, What is Design Activism?, LinkedIn, viewed 19 December 2019, <>.

Fuad-Luke, A., 2013, Design activism: beautiful strangeness for a sustainable world, Routledge.

Julier, G. 2013, The culture of design, 3rd edition, SAGE Publications Ltd, California.

Tanudjaja, B. B. 2004, ‘KREATIFITAS PEMBUATAN IKLAN PRODUK ROKOK DI INDONESIA’, Abstrak, vol. 4, pp. 85-100, viewed 19 December 2019, <;.

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