The music scene in Yogyakarta is booming, and the tobacco industries who have a blatant yet denied obsession with youth advertising find this scene to be the perfect grounds to plant the seeds of their brand (Agato, AW, 2018). This includes various modes of advertising at the events through sponsorship which creates a complex relationship, as the companies are supporting the events with large payments. This helps them to exist and survive, yet markets dangerous products to the audience (Ketchell, 2018). Sponsorship usually looks like tobacco branding displayed on all festival/event posters, billboards and promo girls handing out free cigarettes. As well as online marketing in the form of website links and even through Instagram. Instagram is a problematic mode as there is no real way to bypass age restrictions, young people from all over the world are able to see the images and content through hashtags and links (Astuti, Assunta, & Freeman, 2018).
Local and international artists play at these events and it can still be unclear as to how much the musicians themselves are involved with the tobacco companies. Many deny having known the event was sponsored by tobacco industry. Kelly Clarkson visited Indonesia for a festival in 2010 and sparked media outrage when it was discovered that the concert was sponsored by tobacco brand L.A Lights. Clarkson eventually dropped the sponsorship and we can speculate whether or not she really knew about the sponsorship in the first place or if it was dropped only due to media pressure. Kelly Clarkson is not alone as many International and Australian bands still tour in Indonesia and frequent events which are sponsored by big tobacco (NBC Los Angeles 2010).
People like Kelly Clarkson are role models for many young people and they have an opportunity as creative culture makers to be a positive influence in this space. If large public figures are educated on the matter and have the power to say no to tobacco influence I their shows they have a way to positively influence their young audience. Almost all tobacco advertising plays on the ‘cool factor’ and if role models who young people define as cool, can be seen refusing the influence of tobacco this could be considered a form of design activism in the Yogyakarta region.
When walking around Jogja 2 nursing students Naila and Elma asked to interview us on HIV for their university project. In return we asked them some questions about their opinions on tobacco in Indonesia. It was great to hear a nuanced perspective which was from a young person who understood youth culture, as well as well health students who were highly educated on tobaccos’ effects on the body.
When I asked Naila what her opinion was on smoking she gave me a lengthy and well educated reply. She talked about the way that cigarette smoke makes up a large portion of the air pollution in Indonesia. It is the most important indoor air pollutant (Mangunnegoro and Sutoyo 1996). She also stated that passive smoking is more dangerous than active smoking. This shocked me and was something I hadn’t heard before. When I did some research later this checked out and I found that the smoke which hasn’t passed through the filter of the cigarette has more harmful chemicals than the smoke that the active smoker is inhaling (Cleveland Clinic 2017). Naila also said that 90% of tuberculosis cases in Indonesia are caused from smoking.
We then went on to talk about why people smoke in Indonesia. I wanted to know if people knew the risks or not. She said that they usually do, however people like her father have trouble quitting because they are already deeply addicted. Elma then told me that it took a big scare with lung disease in her family for everyone to stop smoking. None of them smoke anymore, however it is a concerning truth that it may take many smokers a brush with death to realise the reality of the health effects of tobacco.
When speaking about child smoking Naila said that the main reason kids smoke is by association. They see family and peers smoking and because they haven’t been educated about the risks yet they try it out. She called teens ‘labil’ which translates to unstable. Teen brains are much more likely to take risks, especially when around peers (Bessant, 2008). Naila believed that it’s perceived as ‘cool’ to smoke and some kids feel left out if they refuse.
This interview shed light on some new facts I didn’t know about and solidified ideas we already had. Naila had some interesting facts about tobacco that she had learnt at university which we hadn’t heard before. As well as some important insight into youth tobacco culture.
Bessant, J. 2008. Hard wired for risk: Neurological science,‘the adolescent brain’and developmental theory. Journal of Youth Studies, 11(3), pp.347-360.
The village of Windusari, perched 900 metres up the slopes of Mount Sumbing is home to both a large section of tobacco farms as well as a growing collective of farmers cultivating alternative crops such as vegetables and coffee beans. This week, we were lucky enough to explore the region and engage with the locals to better understand their ways of life.
Through our collective primary research, we synthesised two anecdotal stories that outline the issues of tobacco farming in the present, as well as envisioning a sustainable future through the shifting of crop cultivation and farmer empowerment.
“My father operates a large tobacco farm on the slopes of Windusari. The leaf he sells to the local Middle man is some of the best produced in the area; so my father is under a lot of pressure! He works many hours on the farm fertilising the soil so the crop grows faster. When the rain comes, especially in the wet season, it can destroy the yield quality and we make no money for the whole harvest. It has been raining more and more in the wet season for the past 3 years, extending into the typical dry season transition between March and April. The pressure has become so much that I have stopped my second year of senior high school, and begun helping my father fertilise and harvest the crop. I get sick from harvesting the leaf, I vomit nearly every day, sometimes I pass out and my mother takes me back to the home to take care of me. My father smokes tobacco cigars that the middlemen give him as incentive. My father is becoming sick… I try to tell him to consider another crop, but he says it’s impossible. I hear Coffee is being grown not far from here, it grows naturally in the unfertilised soil. They sell the coffee directly to cafes in Jogja for more than the value of the tobacco leaf.“
“15 years ago, My father passed away from throat and lung cancer, he was a tobacco farmer. My mother and brother inherited the farm, and we maintained it for the money, it was a stable business despite the risk of wet season. My brother and I always smoked, but my brother fell ill with Emphysema 3 years ago, he lives in the hospital now. The puskesmas helped me quit smoking, and I worked in Jogja as a Grab driver to save money. My neighbour in Windusari helped me rejuvenate the ground, and now I am a successful Ubii farmer. It is a versatile crop that is getting very popular in the mountains. Ubi is being exported to jogja in raw form, as chips, gluten free grain substitute and halal noodles & even Ice Cream! We are now stable and influencing more farmers to move away from tobacco. The middle men aren’t happy, they threaten us but the farmers all stand strong together against the wicked tobacco industry.“
Following on from 2019, more and more change was seen in Windusari and surrounds. Farmers were already diversifying their crops away from tobacco as the issues with tobacco farming became more widely understood in the community, and they discovered they could make higher profits without it. In Windusari sweet potato, Chilli and coffee were popular amongst the broad range being grown there.
Tobacco farming firstly supports an industry which hurts and exploits people in Indonesia by advertising a toxic substance to young people. Secondly it is a risky crop to invest in, as weather changes can kill crops and cost farmers all their invested money.
Thirdly, farmers work under harsh conditions, often getting nicotine poisoning through the pores of their skin. And lastly farmers don’t get enough money for their crops, as middle men take huge markups.
In 2020, 4 farmers who shared their common concerns for sustainable farming began meeting up every Friday afternoon to share their skills, knowledge, and to support each other. Over time their movement began to grow as more and more farmers shared the same goal: to create a better life for farmers and villagers in Windusari. Meetings became more formal and were held monthly.
The year is now 2040, the farmers collective movement has influenced other communities Java wide, which encouraged a decision for the unionisation of farmers. This birthed the Windusari Farmers Union, named proudly after the first farmers who inspired the movement back in 2019. The Union, abbreviated as WFU, takes on the structure of a democratic model, with members values dictating the roles of the Executive Board and Presidents.
The union lobbies local government in order to fight for standardised pricing of crops. What makes this union unique is that it is small scale, community based, and run solely by farmers. Their main goal is to empower their own community.
In 2040, the monetary value of crops have increased, and bring more profit back to the community. This can be attributed to lobbying the government for standardised pricing, as well as the increased quality of crops due to local workshops and sharing knowledge on farming and productivity. Workplace health and safety has become a priority, which increases the livelihood of all farmers. Sustainable dams and water reservoirs made from bamboo are popping up all over Magelang and surrounds. They were facilitated through workshops by the union, who emphasise the harsh weather conditions that climate change will bring to the area. Collecting water during the harsher wet season will ensure farms have enough resources to survive the extreme dry season and increased temperature that will be reality for 2040. Education is important for the WFU, and so they hold workshops and events regularly for the community, even the children. These extend further than farming, and include sports days, arts and crafts, and social get togethers.
Essentially, the union has the power to bring better rights and pay to farmers, which will increase profits and fund education and resources. This leads to a better life in general for farmers which attracts residents to the area, creating a larger rural community, and enables even more resources, forming a positive cycle. This also counters the effects of urbanisation and increases profit and wellbeing.
Our vision for Delimas farmlands in Windusari involves the rejuvenation of the already existing beginnings of a visitors centre. The Hollywood style Delimas sign will look down onto a hub for local tourists to come and learn about the region. The viewing platform facing the rolling hills of the mountains and farmland will feature informational signage and teach visitors about the different crops and topography of the land. It also serves as an awesome photo opportunity! Because the area is now known for their high quality, artisan produce, market stalls are held on the first Sunday of every month.
By 2040, Magelang will be a popular tourist destination for both locals and internationals, and so these markets bring lots of life to the area. Market products include fresh produce of fruit and vegetables, as well as chilli and coffee. Through the union’s education, the farmers have learned how to cut out the middleman and to prepare their own products for final sale. Jobs such as drying the potatoes and making sambal now belong to local farmers instead of larger corporations. In the market stalls, one will discover Magelang branded Sambal, artisan Coffee, and Ubi Crisps. The Magelang brand is recognised nationally and even internationally for its unique taste and quality. Rural life is also promoted through the Windusari Farmer’s union merchandise. Over the years the work that the union has done has helped change perceptions around farming work, and the general public are finding it a more and more attractive lifestyle. In the 2030s climate change has also really negatively impacted people’s perceptions of the city and technology in general.
Windusari Farmers union promotes rural life by making farming ‘cool’. T-shirt’s are available for farmers themselves as well as other merch like tote bags which are available for the general public as a way to show their support in the movement. In 2040 farmers in Magelang and surrounds are proud of their profession and high quality produce. With the help of the Windusari Farmers Union, livelihoods of people like these guys have greatly improved.
Although the tobacco industry provides a large amount of employment for some Indonesian people, these figures are often exaggerated by the tobacco industry to be used as bargaining chips when trying to promote their cause. Agriculture has always been a large part of Indonesias livelihood, employing 41% of the population in 2012 (Indonesia investments, 2012).
However of the entire agricultural sector only 0.3% is comprised of tobacco farms and 0.03% of gross domestic product (Indonesia Ministry of Agriculture, 2010). Most agricultural farms in Indonesia are plantations of things like rubber, palm oil, cocoa and coffee (Indonesia investments, 2012). When fighting tobacco control, tobacco spokespeople use employment figures anywhere from 3 – 10 million jobs (SEATCA, ). With varying figures and statistics, it is easy for false numbers to become factual as news and information spreads around.
Villages in high tobacco producing areas like central and east java do benefit highly from the seasonal work that comes with the plantations. However more issues arise as child labour becomes very tempting for struggling families looking for more income. Of the estimates 2.5 million Indonesian children who are working when they should be in school, 60% of those are working in tobacco farms (SEATCA, ). Children are at a high risk of green tobacco sickness, as nicotine is able to enter the body through the pores in our skin when handling tobacco leaves (Human Rights Watch, 2016). Some children report working 7 day weeks and feeling sick during their work days (Human Rights Watch, 2016). The main issue with child labour however is the inability to break the cycle of poverty without an education. If kids are not in school, it makes it much harder to learn new skills which can break them out of low paying jobs such as working on a tobacco farm.
What many tobacco control lobbyist in Indonesia want is a higher tax rate on cigarettes. This would make it harder for people to afford to smoke, which has been shown in other countries to really work to drive down smoker numbers. Currently an average of Indonesian smokers income spent on cigarettes is 19% and if that number could be lessened and spend on more productive parts of the Indonesian market then there would be an economic boom in Indonesian industry, with money spread out evenly. Rather than the billions of IDR going solely to the already enormous main 5 tobacco companies.
The 2006 media campaign: ‘Speeding. No one thinks big of
you’ was one of the most memorable and effective TV campaigns of that era which
drastically curbed road deaths in young people, it broke headlines overseas and
saved countless lives. However, looking back on this campaign from the future
lense we now have, with more knowledge about men’s mental health and unhealthy
ideals of masculinity, can we find a better way to shift attitudes?
In 2006 the RTA was facing a rapidly increasing problem; no matter how many shock horror car crash ads were aired, young males (17-24) in particular were dying more and more on the road (Roads and Traffic Authority 2009). Authoritarian voices and scare tactics weren’t working on this demographic in particular; at this age the risk centre in brain is not fully developed yet (Bessant, 2008). Through research the RTA grew to understand the culture of speeding in young males and found that they were more likely to take risks when 2 or more passengers were in the car (Roads and Traffic Authority 2009). Drivers were showing off.
The ad campaign features women on the street and peers in
the car wiggling their pinky fingers at the irresponsible drivers. They are
basically saying that a driver who speeds must have a small penis, and the
reason they show off in the car is to compensate for that. The ad was a huge
success and it uses two highly effective advertising methods:
1. Creating a symbol or action that can be copied and re created general public.
Once the idea is spread into the public, the message is regenerated and it becomes free advertising.
2. Shame tactics
Studies show that guilt, fear and shame are the most efficient emotions to tap into when advertising to young people. (Spinks-Earl, 2010) However is this ethical?
Body image issues in men have been linked to low self
esteem, anxiety and depression (Olivardia, Pope, Borowiecki & Cohane, 2004).
Western cultures even call a man’s penis “his manhood” meaning young men are susceptible
to equating penis size with their self worth (Wylie & Eardley, 2007).
75% of yearly suicides in Australia are male (Molloy & Cook, 2019) and we are becoming increasingly aware of mental health issues
revolving around men and masculinity.
This advertising campaign is particularly relevant to
the tobacco issue project we will be working on in Jogjakarta as smoking
advertising is directed at young men and is sold as a masculine activity .
Breaking down this notion would be a highly effective angle to take in our
projects, however we as designers have a responsibility to work in nuanced and
holistic ways, which don’t shift one problem on to another.
Bessant, J. 2008. Hard wired for risk: Neurological
science,‘the adolescent brain’and developmental theory. Journal of Youth Studies, 11(3), pp.347-360.
Pope, H. G. Jr., Philips, K. A. & Olivardia, R. (2004). The Adoniscomplex: The secret crisis of male body obsession. New York, NY: The Free Press.
Roads and Traffic Authority 2009, Speeding. No one thinks big of you. 2009
Australian Effie Awards, viewed 22 Nov 2019 <chrome-extension://oemmndcbldboiebfnladdacbdfmadadm/https://www.effies.com.au/attachments/cd29d4db-44e2-4c50-b86d-fca3acbd7c2b.pdf>