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Gallery of Shame 15

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

This week’s #adsthatkill Gallery of Shame entry is a prime example of how Big Tobacco attempts to undermine the gains made by tobacco control advocates—depicting smoking as a rebellious activity done by free-thinking independents.

Never let the goody two shoes get you down”, purrs this Virginia Slims ad—the ‘goody two shoes’, in this case, presumably being those who might warn smokers that tobacco use kills 6 million people annually. We’ve examined this favorite tobacco company tactic before; it’s a brilliant, if diabolical, marketing ploy. Depict smoking as independent-minded and cool, and the truth of tobacco’s terrible consequences as square and neurotic: it’s the perfect path to hooking smokers.

It’s campaigns like this that make the strongest argument for graphic imagery on cigarette packs, which has been proven effective in combating slick Big Tobacco marketing and depicting the truth of smoking’s deadly effects. Graphic packaging cuts through the stunning photography and carefully-crafted phrases of marketing campaigns and forces smokers to confront the truth of this deadly product—encouraging them to quit once and for all.

Tune in next week for the next entry in Gallery of Shame, and submit your own ‘worst of the worst’ with the hashtag #adsthatkill or by emailing

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