Kinder, Gentler, Smokier: Japan Tobacco's 'Smoking Manners for Adults' Ads, Part 6
Japan Tobacco's admen & women likely burned through a lot of the company's main product in conjuring up 73 "Smoking Manners for Adults" ads. Gently chastising smokers while not turning them off tobacco altogether takes guts... and leaves butts. Here are ads 51 through 60.
51) "Outdoors, he tosses away his cigarette butt. Indoors, his portable ashtray is left unused somewhere"
Ahh, the portable ashtray - it's the Amex card of Japan, as in "don't leave home without it!" Interesting that whether he's outdoors or indoors, our butt-flicking everyman feels free to let fly. Wonder what Mrs. Butt-flicker has to say about that, though with a name like Mrs. Butt-flicker she's probably got enough on her plate. A bonus feature of this ad is the alarmed bird who graces both scenarios... maybe Mr. Butt-flicker is tweeting his butt-flicking exploits?
52) "You'll never find a stand ashtray at the best viewpoints"
How true, how true... maybe the Parks & Rec folks in Japan don't want to clutter up the prime viewing areas with smelly, overflowing ashtrays, especially the house-sized ones as shown in this ad. They're "far away" from the best viewpoints for a reason. Then again, visitors are always looking up at the so-called Super View (in Japanese, "Soo-paa Beeyuu" and don't notice the carpet of tossed butts below.
53) "The leaves that covered the flowerbed were tobacco leaves"
Funny how smokers, assuming they take the time to consider a prime spot for tossing their butts, often select a flowerbed, potted plant or some other green growing thing. What is that, some sort of composting? And why pick something meant to beautify an urban area to use as a trashcan? Perhaps they think those discarded butts will sprout in the soil and grow into pretty little tobacco plants... yeah, that's the ticket!
54) "I tossed away my cigarette butt into the drain. In effect, I was making sure it wasn't picked up"
Newsflash for smokers - drains aren't enormous ashtrays set into the roadway. True, a lot of flotsam & jetsam ends up down below but few people actually stand over drains and dump their trash there. Now we know that beneath the city lies a vast maze in which tossed cigarette butts move about, not unlike a 1980s video game. Where's Mario when you need him?
55) "You shouldn't smoke in a public toilet. A toilet bowl is not a big ashtray"
A toilet bowl is not a big ashtray? Then why make it look like one in this ad? C'mon JT, you're giving folks bad ideas. Besides, it looks like they've barely smoked their cigarettes and... Good Lord, look at the size of that thing! You're gonna flush that??
56) "It's an idea to carry the "must-have items" hanging from your neck"
It's an idea all right, but not a sane one. Can you imagine walking the streets of cool, fashion-conscious Tokyo with a portable ashtray swinging from your neck like some sort of disco medallion from Hell? Care to imagine the reaction from your boss, your date or your fellow subway passengers? They'll be telling you to butt out - whether or not you're smoking at the time.
57) "Under those eye-catching flowers lies something you wouldn't like to look at"
Note to Japan Tobacco: Don't install these particular signs at cemeteries, OK? Instead, try the very similar ad #53, because you know smokers don't toss their butts at funerals. Near movie theaters would be a better choice, especially if they're showing a zombie flick.
58) "Why does that man throw out so many cigarette butts all at once?"
This ad reminds me that old Steven Wright joke: "I once bought some used paint... it was in the shape of a house." Here we have the stereotypical chain-smoker's vehicle, a car whose ashtrays are overflowing with cigarette butts. Since we've all seen those roadside butt-piles before, one must assume at some point the level of disgust rises beyond human tolerance - and it crosses the line without notice, before the owner can get to a trashcan.
59) "The thing was littered because it was no longer necessary. To other people, it was even less necessary"
Unusual for JT's ad-folks to barb the message with subtle sarcasm but here it is. Of course, for non-smokers the butt of the cigarette is less offensive than the smoldering cigarette it once was. Careful JT, you want to reform unmannerly smokers, not add fuel to non-smokers' fire.
60) "After the corner was turned, the trash was tossed away. It was a blind spot in the city"
Here we have JT moving beyond cigarettes to the broader offense of general littering. "It was a blind spot in the city"... well smokers, there ARE no blind spots in the city. We're watching you - the city never sleeps and we're on to your trash-tossing ways. At least smokers - considerate ones, at least - carry their nifty portable ashtrays around their necks. May we suggest they add a metal trashcan to hold soda cans and add additional bling.
Well, we're getting down to the home stretch and the ashtrays, portable or otherwise, are overflowing. Just 13 more ads to go - will Japan Tobacco end the series with a bang or go out with a whimper, er, wheeze? Tune in next time for "Smoking Manners for Adults, Part 7: The Final Puff".
J A P A N O R A M A