Sunday, November 13, 2011
If all goes according to plan, from December next year Australia will be the first country in the world to have cigarettes appear in plain packaging. The logo-free packets will feature horror movie-style photos of toothless and blind people with slogans like such as 'Smoking Causes Blindness' (really? does it? I thought masturbation did. Do they mean smoke can get in your eyes? Alcohol seems more likely to cause blindness (blind drunk?). In fact, I know of someone who did temporarily go blind after drinking too much. Anyway, the man in the photo looks like he can actually see, or if he can't it's because there's a pair of forceps pulling his eyeballs out).
Australians are a funny bunch. I used to work with lots of them. One in particular always used to correct me whenever I used a 'branded' word instead of a generic one. So when I said 'Pritt Stick', she'd correct me and say 'glue stick'; when I said 'Biro' she'd say 'disposable ink pen'; when I said 'Hoover', she'd say 'vacuum cleaner'. I'm not kidding; this is what she did. Every day. Was she taking the piss? I've no idea, but she was adamant that all Australians use generic names for things rather than branded names, even/especially when they're household names, like Biro or Hoover. I have no idea if this says anything about the Australian character. Or if it has anything to do with the no logo cigarettes.
William Gibson's 2003 novel Pattern Recognition features a marketing consultant called Cayce Pollard whose hypersensitivity to corporate logos and brands makes her a valued commodity. The more effective the branding, the more allergic Pollard is to it. She only wears black and removes all logos and tags from her clothing. If she smoked, I'm sure she would approve of Australia's forthcoming legislation.
Previously on Barnflakes:
Surreal Silk Cut cigarette ads