R.J. Reynolds Returns to Killing People With Smoking Lounge

Clinging for it its own life at the expense of the lives of others whom it feels should perceive smoking as a glamorous activity rather than the killer it is, R.J. Reynolds in launching a fancy new brand of cigarettes called Marshall McGearty and supporting the brand with a hipster lounge in Chicago. As if completely oblivious to the past 20 years worth of research highlighting the killing qualities of cancer sticks, Larry McGearty, CD at RJR agency Gyro Worldwide told Ad Age, "No one has done this before. Nobody has tried to create romance in the industry and take it to the next level." McGearty and the other pompous soul who's name is on the brand, RJR stench guru Jerry Marshal cooked up the idea several years ago realizing many other categories of social vices had high end brands that were successful and figured why should cigarettes be left out of that game.

Oh sure, everyone should be free to choose their on manner of death but at least in American society, the whole smoking thing is over. It had it's day. It's done. Clearly, it's not a healthy thing to engage in and eradicating it from the earth wouldn't be such a bad thing. Oh wait, then everyone will want to ban alcohol, coffee and all those other pleasantly mood-altering but health challenged substances we all enjoy from time to time. That said, we just don't think this one's going to go very far. You can see two of the ads here and here.

by Steve Hall    Jan-25-06   Click to Comment   
Topic: Campaigns, Magazine, Opinion, Trends and Culture, Worst   

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Comments



Comments

While I agree smoking is a rather disgusting habit, and if it were to go away all together I would not shed a tear, this a great idea.

As a marketer I find this a rather brilliant move. They are creating a haven for smokers while teasing us non-smokers with a hip environment. They've personalized the experience for only those who seek it out.

The lounge living or dying will have more to do with the Bucktown hippsters than the success of this marketing idea...which I feel is rather good one.

Posted by: Scott Burns on January 25, 2006 2:18 PM

This is rather ill-timed considering the smoking ban just passed here in Chicago!

Posted by: saira on January 25, 2006 2:18 PM

The only thing these ads will do is encourage the already desperately reluctant, ultra-addicted death stickers to gather in one place to enjoy second hand smoke in a dimly lit, oxygen deprived, clothes stinking, red-eyed orgy of cancer.

Posted by: John on January 25, 2006 2:23 PM

It would seem logical to me that the manufacturers of cigarettes and those who sell them to consumers be seen as participating in a slow form of assisted suicide. Therefore the only state that should permit the sale of tobacco should be Oregon. The rest of the country should be making room in the cell next to Dr. Kovorkian.

Posted by: Fred Page on January 25, 2006 2:27 PM

I know I just posted a comment about this, but I have to throw another WTF on the fire.

What good is progress and knowledge if we do nothing with it? Collectively, we know more today about the health damages and WASTED TIME that result from smoking (not to mention dry cleaning bills from the clubbing aftermath) and yet... - are we really that vapid and weak a society that we will continue to allow a couple of morally impotent business men to tell us what is cool? (real cool, emptying your healthy lungs into their bank accounts) Go jog or something!

Posted by: saira on January 25, 2006 2:36 PM

Yeah ... what happens now that Chicago has a new smoking ban?

Besides ... every person I know who smokes *HATES* smoking lounges. They smoke, yeah, but don't want to stand it a room with a gaggle of other smokers, hacking away, reeking of it.

Stupid, stupid, stupid.

Posted by: Niki on January 25, 2006 3:16 PM

Florida's clean air act prohibits smoking in any public place indoors and restricts it to designated areas outdoors. Only the most severely addicted smoke here any longer - it is now something that is relegated to the lower socio-economic classes - only people who show up in an episode of COPS in their boxers with torn tee shirts and no teeth smoke.

Posted by: Fred Page on January 25, 2006 3:23 PM

Isn't this just doing for the rich what the company's advertising already does for the poor?

At least the McGearty smokers are more likely to have health insurance that covers smoking cessation than the target market of all the RJR billboards in low-income areas.

Posted by: Don Marti on January 25, 2006 3:37 PM

Not all of us who smoke will die or get ill from it. Just a relatively small few.

Posted by: Joe Smoker on January 25, 2006 3:40 PM

like 400,000 a year ?

Posted by: Fred Page on January 25, 2006 4:09 PM

Not the most original idea.

Recently saw the Marlborough Lounge at the Lima, Peru airport. A swanky place where you can drink expensive mineral water and martinis as well as smoke before boarding.

Posted by: lidbit on January 25, 2006 4:22 PM

Fascinating article. Just one question: Why did you choose to illustrate it with a picture of Mickey Rourke?

Posted by: Satan on January 25, 2006 4:39 PM

1 - As to the timing of this opening, because they're selling cigarrettes, this lounge (an exception as a tobacco store/cigar bar) will allow smokers a place to smoke indoors while the new smoking ban kicks them out of every other venue in town.

2 - True, tobacco smoking is a bad idea. Its day is past. The companies are forced to finance ads to prevent people from starting to use their products, and to help people stop using their products. Right or wrong, the companies are still in business. And there are still some idiots out here smoking. And although I wouldn't be bothered to spend a whole lot of time looking at the grotesque image posted with this post, the artwork for this smoking lounge is admittedly beautiful. Credit where it's due.

Now I'm going out for a smoke. That's right, out, in flippin 40 degree weather. I could use a smoking lounge, dammit. :P

Posted by: DC Grrl on January 25, 2006 4:45 PM

the idea is smart. there is a customer who needs a place to enjoy a legal activity. let the bums who wish to smoke do their thing. it is a free country. bums are allowed to shoot semi-autommatic rifles for target practice throughout rural america. bums are allowed to film and enjoy porno. bums can lure kids with "hip fashion" and "cool cellphones" that are made in overseas sweatshops for pennies a day. let the bums have their smokeshop.

Posted by: mr. blah on January 25, 2006 5:10 PM

There are times when I am embarrased to be in the marketing profession. The fact that we can do does not translate to we should do it. Great blog photo, did you get it from RJR?

Posted by: Dale Wolf on January 25, 2006 5:11 PM

I remember an editorial cartoon in AdAge years back. Three cerial execs standing around a boardroom with a box of Frazzel Flakes in hand. "Well it tastes pretty good and the package is stand-out. Now if we can just find a way to make it addictive".

I guess they gave up and went to work for RJR. Hey isn't Nabisco one of their brands?

Posted by: Fred Page on January 25, 2006 5:14 PM

Guess that should have been cereal

Posted by: Fred Page on January 25, 2006 5:17 PM

I think it's a marketing idea with great potential -- I had the idea myself a few years ago, as I'm sure many others did, but it takes capital to create and sustain an operation such as this, so I suppose it had to wait until an RJR would open its deep pockets.

I'm amused by all the hand wringing going on about "Ooooh, smoking is soooo bad, how dare they!.." I thought this site was about whether an idea is good advertising or marketing, not whether you approve of the product or service. Ah well, Americans have always been so parochial and puritanical, it's not surprising, I suppose (read Spanish author Javier Marias' article in the Sunday NY Times, Jan 22nd, by way of comparing national perspectives). Being in Chicago, I'm going to pay a professional-curiosity visit. BTW, the over-the-counter price of a pack of premium cigarettes like Dunhill here in Chicago is around $7.50+, so Marshall McGearty's price of $8 a pack for hand-rolled and custom-selected leaf is actually very reasonable in the local marketplace.

(Oh, and to the smugly self-righteous Florida resident who proclaims that the only smokers in his state are toothless lower-class igs: I'm sure all those real estate developers and their corrupt political partners down there busy raping the wetlands are nice, healthy, upper-class non-smokers, aren't they? Seeing as my father was an Hungarian Count and I'm a moderately well-educated Amherst College alumnus, I guess I can't be allowed to visit Florida and upset the statistics....

Posted by: Paul on January 25, 2006 9:59 PM

I actually live in the neighborhood where the "hipster lounge" is located and have paid it a visit several times. I'd say that calling it a "hipster lounge" is totally off, as the place is actually very nice, has a very friendly staff, is as comfortable as can be, and actually has food better than most of the swanky restaurants in the Wicker Park neighborhood. I am a smoker, so perhaps I appreciate a place where I can sit down, fire up my laptop, have a cup of coffee and a smoke. If you aren't a smoker, don't go... but if you are looking for a place to light up that is outside the restrictions of the newly imposed Chicago smoking ban, then check it out. Aside from the marketing tactics employed here, I am all for it. I don't smoke thier brand, nor will I. I do, however, appreciate a comfortable, friendly place to have lunch though.

Posted by: Dave on January 25, 2006 11:59 PM

Yes, Paul, I will admit we Americans are way too up tight and politically correct about stuff like this. Thought I did write, "everyone should be free to choose their own manner of death," I agree that was harsh. In terms of a marketing idea, it is a very good one. I think all the "don't smoke, don't drink. don't do anything that could possibly add a little fun to your life" American undercurrent got the best of me on this one:-)

And Dave, I guess as "is" was with Clinton, the definition of "hipster" has more than one meaning.

Posted by: Steve Hall on January 26, 2006 10:15 AM

I live next to a student housing high-rise in Brooklyn, and am absolutely astonished at the number of young people who stand shivering outside the entrance (in below-freezing weather, yet) just to get their nicotine fixes. I guess they were surprised to learn about New York's smoking ban.

They have surely heard that smoking is a killer many times, so why do these temporary transplants from Idaho and Mississippi still think that smoking is hip and cool? We might consider smoking to be passe, dangerous or stupid, but the affluent, educated students next door are still buying the message - the smokes.

Posted by: Annie on January 26, 2006 12:27 PM

I live next to a student housing high-rise in Brooklyn, and am absolutely astonished at the number of young people who stand shivering outside the entrance (in below-freezing weather, yet) just to get their nicotine fixes. I guess they were surprised to learn about New York's smoking ban.

They have surely heard that smoking is a killer many times, so why do these temporary transplants from Idaho and Mississippi still think that smoking is hip and cool? We might consider smoking to be passe, dangerous or stupid, but the affluent, educated students next door are still buying the message - the smokes.

Posted by: Annie on January 26, 2006 12:28 PM

Yes, this is an ad marketing blog, but it is impossible to discuss professional merits without including a look at the moral implications that go along with them. As a designer I can appreciate the ads themselves. They do transport and entice, and so I suppose they've done their job.

At least now the smokers have a "ridiculously plush" place where they are free to puff away without offending those of us that don't want to be around it.

Posted by: saira on January 26, 2006 6:56 PM

oh would you anti-smoking nazis just relax. it's a damn ad. so what? dod you need to control free speech too?

Posted by: bob on January 26, 2006 7:19 PM

This is a great idea. Plain and simple if you want to smoke...smoke. If you don't...don't. Yes, a clear line, needed to be drawn from those places that allow smoking and those that do not. However, this ban has taken it over the line. The only good think is to see that some wise capitalist found a way around the Daley administration to find a new profitable market. I would love to operate a few of these shops in the cities. The revenue would be off the wall. I don't smoke cigarettes, but love the ocassional cigar. If only the tree huggers could go after McDonalds and Coke. They kill more people in a year than any cigarette company ever did.

Posted by: Brian on May 17, 2006 11:34 PM

OK enough already. Smoking exists. People smoke and drink and eat red meat and screw and do all kinds risky shit. So what? I'm tired of everyone making everyone elses habits their own biz. We are enlightened enough to make our own choices. Please stop meddling in my life.
Also the demonization of smokes is pretty silly on a lot of levels
When, for example did you ever hear of someone kicking the crap out of their wife or kids because they had to much nicotine that day.
Do you know anyone who lost their job because of cig usage?
Has anyone ever been accused of driving under the influence of Marlboro?
2nd Hand smoke kills they say -
You know what - so does 2nd hand alcoholism - where are the thought police marching out against Coors?

Posted by: Spyro on September 28, 2006 3:56 PM

OK enough already. Smoking exists. People smoke and drink and eat red meat and screw and do all kinds risky shit. So what? I'm tired of everyone making everyone elses habits their own biz. We are enlightened enough to make our own choices. Please stop meddling in my life.
Also the demonization of smokes is pretty silly on a lot of levels
When, for example did you ever hear of someone kicking the crap out of their wife or kids because they had to much nicotine that day.
Do you know anyone who lost their job because of cig usage?
Has anyone ever been accused of driving under the influence of Marlboro?
2nd Hand smoke kills they say -
You know what - so does 2nd hand alcoholism - where are the thought police marching out against Coors?

Posted by: Spyro on September 28, 2006 3:56 PM

Spyro makes good points. I guess smokers need aon organization like the NRA and a similarly snappy slogan -- "Cigarettes don't kill people, people kill people?"

And here's a tactic for the anti-smoking activists: since a lot of Middle Eastern people smoke cigarettes, and a lot of terrorists are from the Middle East, maybe there's a correlation, and smoking cigarettes is a quasi-terrorist activity. Better alert the TSA and the FBI. Look out, Marshall McGearty, soon there might be hidden microphones under your Art
Deco ashtrays!

Posted by: Mr. Whipple on September 29, 2006 12:23 PM

Spyro makes good points. I guess smokers need aon organization like the NRA and a similarly snappy slogan -- "Cigarettes don't kill people, people kill people?"

And here's a tactic for the anti-smoking activists: since a lot of Middle Eastern people smoke cigarettes, and a lot of terrorists are from the Middle East, maybe there's a correlation, and smoking cigarettes is a quasi-terrorist activity. Better alert the TSA and the FBI. Look out, Marshall McGearty, soon there might be hidden microphones under your Art
Deco ashtrays!

Posted by: Mr. Whipple on September 29, 2006 12:23 PM

Spyro makes good points. I guess smokers need aon organization like the NRA and a similarly snappy slogan -- "Cigarettes don't kill people, people kill people?"

And here's a tactic for the anti-smoking activists: since a lot of Middle Eastern people smoke cigarettes, and a lot of terrorists are from the Middle East, maybe there's a correlation, and smoking cigarettes is a quasi-terrorist activity. Better alert the TSA and the FBI. Look out, Marshall McGearty, soon there might be hidden microphones under your Art
Deco ashtrays!

Posted by: Mr. Whipple on September 29, 2006 12:23 PM

Spyro makes good points. I guess smokers need aon organization like the NRA and a similarly snappy slogan -- "Cigarettes don't kill people, people kill people?"

And here's a tactic for the anti-smoking activists: since a lot of Middle Eastern people smoke cigarettes, and a lot of terrorists are from the Middle East, maybe there's a correlation, and smoking cigarettes is a quasi-terrorist activity. Better alert the TSA and the FBI. Look out, Marshall McGearty, soon there might be hidden microphones under your Art
Deco ashtrays!

Posted by: Mr. Whipple on September 29, 2006 12:23 PM

smoking is bad!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: unknown on November 17, 2006 11:09 AM

smoking is bad!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: unknown on November 17, 2006 11:09 AM

I smoke. So what. I am only 14!

Posted by: Fork on November 28, 2006 10:52 AM

smokers think the world is their ashtray, just look around. smokers get away with polluting every day, while the rest of us are punished harshly and even prosecuted and thrown into jail. smokers are just some nasty people.

Posted by: david jones on July 4, 2007 10:06 AM





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