In Indonesia there is a mistrust of science and government (Crosby et al. 2019). The confusion around cigarette use and whether or not it is harmful is information that Indonesians don’t fully recognise. The understanding that tobacco is a harmful substance has been blurred by designers in the industry that enables ‘tobacco companies spend over US $1 million per hour on marketing’ (Vital Strategies 2019). The tobacco industry sponsors international music events, sports events and even events aimed at children (Hodge & Rayda 2019), which uses visual material and systems that are designed to elicit an emotional response. The branding around events such as Gudang Garam Java Rockin’Land 2010 inextricably links tobacco with fun experiences.
The creative industry in Yogyakarta and surrounds is interwoven politically in designing advertising campaigns that support industry and further raising the GDP of Indonesia (Nichter et al. 2008). The industry needs creative culture makers to grow the tobacco industry’s profits and be appealing to its young consumer audience. The advertisements that I saw when I visited Yogyakarta propels the stereotype of masculinity forward in the form of physical endurance sports. The link between the advertisement’s masculine image and catch phrase ‘Pro Never Quit’ (Hodge & Rayda 2019) and the promotion of cigarettes highlights an irony that is is reflected in the culture.
Brand designs, no matter the medium, take on an influential dominance that affects cultural norms. Creative culture makers and local designers in Yogyakarta and other parts of Java design for international music events that are sponsored by the tobacco industry such as the Gudang Garam Java Rockin’Land whose main sponsor was Gudang Garam International, one of the biggest tobacco brands in Indonesia (SEATCA 2010). It aimed its advertising at young people, and even in the sponsor notes it reads the younger the better. The industry is seen a benefactor providing music and international experiences for young people, however the sinister reality is that the tobacco industry uses a marketing strategy (Eissenberg 2004) known as the Pavlovian model on them to associate pleasure and excitement with tobacco usage.
Senior art director Tegar Yudhanataru designed the branding for the Pro Never Quit advertisements in the production house of Squarebox Cinetech. The content heavily dominates Yogyakarta’s billboards, roadside stalls and television (Hodge & Rayda 2019). Pro Never Quit is a slogan that belongs to Gudang Garam’s company brand called Surya Pro. Their vision was to make their brand be viewed as a man’s perfect cigarette (jasminesubrata 2019) and now their campaign is still getting recognition because of its controversial ideologies that are misinformative and falsely lead the consumer to looking at the unattainable luxurious lifestyles advertised by tobacco companies (McCall 2014).
Crosby, A., Dunn, J.L., Aditjondro, E. & Rachfiansyah 2019, ‘Tobacco Control Is a Wicked Problem: Situating Design Responses in Yogyakarta and Banjarmasin’, She Ji: The Journal of Design, Economics, and Innovation, vol. 5, no. 4, pp. 261-84.
Eissenberg, T. 2004, ‘Measuring the emergence of tobacco dependence: the contribution of negative reinforcement models’, Addiction, vol. 99, no. s1, pp. 5-29.
Freeman B. & Swandewi Astuti P.A. 2018, Tobacco company in Indonesia skirts regulation, uses music concerts and social media for marketing, Australia, viewed 24 December 2019, <http://theconversation.com/tobacco-company-in-indonesia-skirts-regulation-uses-music-concerts-and-social-media-for-marketing-93206>.
Hodge, A. & Rayda, N. 2019, ‘Dying better than losing a friend’ in Indonesian smoker’s paradise, Australia, viewed 24 December 2019 <https://www.theaustralian.com.au/nation/world/dying-better-than-losing-a-friend-in-indonesian-smokers-paradise/news-story/12ea3725da825c1471c15d96e6cbc8af>.
Hurt, R.D., Ebbert, J.O., Achadi, A. & Croghan, I.T. 2012, ‘Roadmap to a tobacco epidemic: transnational tobacco companies invade Indonesia’, Tobacco Control, vol. 21, no. 3, pp. 306-12.
McCall, C. 2014, ‘Tobacco advertising still rife in southeast Asia’, The Lancet, vol. 384, no. 9951, pp. 1335-6.
Subrata, J. 2016, Gudang Garam — Surya Pro, Indonesia, viewed 24 December 2019,<https://www.jasminesubrata.com/suryapro>.
South East Asia Tobacco Control Alliance 2010, International artists performing at Indonesian tobacco-sponsored rock festival despite protests, viewed 24 December 2019, <https://seatca.org/international-artists-performing-at-indonesian-tobacco-sponsored-rock-festival-despite-protests/>.
Vital Strategies 2019, Our work, Indonesia, viewed 24 December 2019, <https://www.vitalstrategies.org/programs/>.