The Beacon

What I learned from Newsweek (the ads, not the articles)

Although I'm no fan of the cigarette companies, I have to give credit where credit is due. They have often been on the cutting edge of advertising and marketing. Marlboro made it cool for men to smoke, Virginia Slims made it cool for women to smoke and Camels made it cool for - well, let's not go there.

Flipping through Newsweek the other day, I came across an ad for American Spirit. Since I'm a non-smoker, I didn't realize there was a cigarette company marketing itself as the "organic" cigarette manufacturer. As I was rolling my eyes at the advertisement, a silver lining emerged from the cloud of tobacco smoke.

A friend gave me a button once that said, "You're not famous until they put your head on a pez dispenser." In that same vein, you know you represent a significant portion of the market when cigarette companies are spending millions of dollars advertising to you.

Policy-makers and politicians so often dismiss practical conservation approaches that one could start to question whether these policies have popular support. In a back-handed, but totally credible way, these conservationist Newsweek cigarette ads are proof they do. The ads are motivated strictly by marketing considerations. They cost millions of dollars. The companies wouldn't run them unless there were millions of us who want sustainable management of our planet (putting aside for the moment the debate about the connection between organic and sustainable...).

And let me conclude by saying, if you're considering a smoke - organic or otherwise - first check out these guys. Thanks.


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