Lights, camera, action, cue the music for the commercial, and throw in as much symbolism as possible. Bring in the sun, rising over the rotating earth, to symbolize the dawning of a new day. Show some beautiful star shots, the Milky Way and the Northern lights. Have a sunrise and a sunset. A night shot of a cityscape is great, especially a time lapse at dusk so all the lights gradually brighten the night. Video some traffic moving in and out of the city. Although it is already dark in the scene before, show some twilight off in the distance in this traffic shot; no one will notice. All the while the smooth voice of the announcer gears you up for the product:
“Tomorrow……it’s where great things happen. Dreams… opportunities…the promise of new things to come.”
After several more words and 21 seconds into the commercial, the announcer states: “it’s time smoking changed forever.”
WHAT?? After years of not seeing any type of tobacco marketing on television, this is a shock. The announcer is promising new things and telling us how to get there, and it certainly isn’t behind the wheel of a new car as one might expect, it’s by “smoking.” The viewer has been introduced to Vuse, the “first and only digital vapor cigarette.” The screen shot zooms into the inner workings of this device to show it has a microprocessor, and not just any processor, but a “VaporDelivery Processor v1.0.” Think there will be a v1.1 or v2.0 in the near future? This “microprocessor controlled” device “ensures a perfect puff, first time, every time.”
If buying USA-made nicotine products is important to you, this device was “designed and assembled” right here by “tobacco experts,” although no information is given as to whether the experts are the robots assembling the devices or the lab-coated “scientist.” No matter, they “know what smokers want.” Perhaps the “tobacco expert” looking through her microscope found the “truly satisfying taste” that smokers want. According to the commercial, “only Vuse delivers on the promise.” Does that mean all the others are lying to consumers? As the commercial comes to the end, their products are shown and the announcer says, “Vuse, welcome to tomorrow.”
This highly stylized commercial was brought to you by R.J. Reynolds Vapor Company. In their credit, the final screen shot of the product does say “not for sale to minors.” in all caps. The small print also tells the viewer than the product contains nicotine “extracted from the tobacco plant,” and goes on to state that “nicotine is addictive and no tobacco product has been shown to be safe.” This statement might be confusing to some since this product technically does not contain actual ground leaf tobacco. But they don’t inform the viewers and potential users that nicotine on its own can also have negative health effects.
When gathering information on Vuse, one of their sites stated “minors should never use tobacco products,” and “marketing of tobacco products should not be targeted to minors,” and for that reason they restrict their website to those age 21+.
Another site states several ways they are transforming the tobacco industry, one of which is “accelerating the decline in youth tobacco use.” Feel-good words, but does that mean fewer youth using tobacco and more youth moving over to e-cigarettes, or fewer youths using any type of nicotine products? It’s an interesting statement, but they are vague on how they will keep that promise.
Click HERE to see the entire commercial on the Ad Age site.