(Note: A while ago Emily Mills wrote a series of posts on electronic cigarettes and brought out a bunch of hacks from the e-cigarette industry into the comment section.)
Yesterday I discussed the marketing of values in political ads. I used the prevalence of dairy farms in Wisconsin political rhetoric to illustrate the point. Today let's turn our attention to that trend in the private sector.
First off, I really don't want to make a habit out of teasing hipsters; they're a worn out target. But I just couldn't resist commenting on the full-page ad printed in this week's Isthmus (page 5) by American Spirits Cigarettes, the overwhelming brand of choice for roving coffeehouse artists in Madison.
"100% U.S. GROWN TOBACCO CIGARETTES," reads the headline.
"100% additive-free natural tobacco," reads the sub-headline.
"We've been supporting AMERICAN FARMERS since the early 1900's," reads the next line.
"On the COSMIC SCALE, it may be a small thing. But then again, to the many FARMERS WE SUPPORT, it's actually a PRETTY BIG DEAL," it ends.
The Surgeon General's warning does away with the first implied myth: "No additives in our tobacco does NOT mean a safer cigarette," it says.
How about the second value associated with Spirits? Do they support American farmers? Probably, since the company is owned by the second largest tobacco company in the United States, Reynolds American, which is based in North Carolina, where heavily subsidized tobacco is picked and processed by non-unionized workers (NC has the lowest percentage of union workers in the country). Don't worry, they're not entirely owned by a big, bad American corporation. They're also partially owned by British American Tobacco, which is the second largest cigarette company worldwide.
Nevertheless, I'm sure smoking American Spirits is still a great way to stick it to the man.