Inhale, Exhale, Repeat: Japan Tobacco's 'Smoking Manners for Adults' Ads, Part 4
Japan Tobacco's "Smoking Manners for Adults" ads have lately achieved international recognition with comedian David Sedaris discussing them on Late Night with David Letterman. Sedaris only showed a few of them though, understandable as there are a total of 73.
Why didn't JT assemble a simple Top Ten List ala Letterman, you may ask? With 73 different ads to choose from it would be easy to leave out any clunkers - but that's not the Japanese way. Having arrived at the 73 by committee it would be uncouth to not use all 73. And besides, almost every ad has something to say about smokers and their manners (or lack thereof). Therefore, fire up a cig, pipe or stogie and enjoy ads 31 through 40!
31) "Smoke is billowing from a stand ashtray. If it were my home, I wouldn't be so calm."
This ad highlights the almost unconscious difference people make between types of fire. Remember that scene from Young Frankenstein? "Fire is our friend"... until a blind hermit sets your thumb ablaze. Thus, burning cigarette = good. Burning house = not so good. Japan Tobacco had to tread carefully with this ad, as burning cigarettes are good for them while smoldering smokes in a public ashtray are bad for the rest of us.
32) "The sparks blew off. Luckily, they were stopped by my sleeve."
This is a seasonal ad, perhaps... typhoon season. When else is the wind strong enough to turn a lit cigarette into a small, charcoal filtered flamethrower? Now we know why Marilyn Monroe wasn't smoking when she stood atop that subway grate in "The Seven Year Itch" - tenants in nearby apartments would have thought it was the Fourth of July.
33) "A free portable ashtray is as easy to carry as a mobile phone. So why don't I use one?"
What is the significance of the spider? Does it show how neglected these free portable ashtrays are? Has anyone ever SEEN a free portable ashtray, let alone used one? You could chain-smoke half a pack just standing in front of this ad, trying to figure it out. Sure hope there's one of those smoke-billowing "stand ashtrays" near the sign.
34) "Some people smoke one step away from a non-smoking area. Oh, I do that too."
Ever notice the cluster of oblivious puffers spewing smoke just outside the doors of restaurants, malls and so on? You know who you are. The curious thing about this ad is the "Oh, I do that too." It's a very Japanese way to soften a criticism by lumping in the critic with the critiqued. What I really want to know, though, is it a no-smoking area or a non-smoking area?
35) "I carry a 700°C fire in my hand with people walking all around me."
Add the words of Dwight Schrute, "Can you imagine if I was deranged??" On the face of it, this ad reminds smokers that the glowing orange tip of their addict-o-stick is hot enough to melt metals such as lead, aluminum, tin and zinc. You could smelt bronze with that thing, dude! Now that's intimidating. Who needs a pitbull when you can have a Camel?
36) "Probably the kind of litter I see most often in Japan is cigarette butts."
This straightforward ad dispenses with convoluted Zen philosophy and cuts right to the chase: Japan is covered in discarded cigarettes. Heck, it even LOOKS like a tossed, crumpled cigarette - from space, at least. I always thought it looked sorta like a shrimp, but I digress. Though it's true that Japan can be said to resemble a discarded smoke from certain angles, it's looked that way for millions of years. Now we know what drove the dinosaurs to extinction.
37) "Portable ashtrays. They're so handy. I always think that when I'm searching for a place to get rid of my cigarette butt."
Again with the elusive portable ashtrays. Seriously, who wants to carry around a box of smelly ashes and saliva-soaked filters? Disgusting, I'd just as soon breathe through them... oh. Anyway, you know what's going to happen once the handy portable ashtrays get full? Yep, they'll be tossed.
38) "Cigarette butts buried in the snow, resurface in the spring."
You know what else, when buried in the snow, resurfaces in the spring? That's right, Sopranos fans... and while we're on the topic, be sure you pick up after your pet pooch before snowstorms.
39) "Would you stick a cigarette butt in the snowman that your child built?"
Of course not... well, not YOUR child's snowman. Unless it was to make the snowman look cool. Cooler, that is, being that it's made of sn - you get it. Anyway, JT does have a point here. So do I, referring to my previous doggie doo comment. Stained, smeared and festooned with cigarette butts is no way to go through winter, Frosty.
40) "The only things that should be stuck in the snow are ski gear and your own face."
Say WHAT??... OK, either there's a Japanese winter custom I'm not familiar with, or they're really lousy skiers. Maybe the latter explains all the discarded cigarettes stuck in the snow - leave them alone, they're attached to a body. In addition to not drinking & driving, when in Japan don't ski & smoke!
You'd think that after being told 40 different ways to smoke with more consideration, Japan's legions of puffers would get with the program...
You'd be wrong - Japan Tobacco's crack cigarette etiquette squad still has another 33 methods by which to shame, scold, chide and cajole the nation's negligent nicotine ne'er-do-wells. Tune in next time for the next ten! (Images via Conbinibento)