Issue Commentary

05/28/02 – Us⁠i⁠ng V⁠i⁠ce ⁠t⁠o Fund Some⁠t⁠h⁠i⁠ng V⁠i⁠r⁠t⁠uous

By: The James Madison Institute / 2002

Well, just when we thought that perhaps we had seen it all in the dreadful, painful television ads with those arcane references and more-than-convoluted pleas for kids not to smoke, we find ourselves with a major candidate for Florida public office basing his financial plan for education on smokers. You know the ads–the “Truth” ads that have used about every pop reference available, stretched the limits of subliminal appeal, and used everything from floating eyeballs to Spanish-speaking cowboys to giant, dying subway rats to make the point that smoking is bad. Lord only knows how much money has been spent on this campaign or even how much influence it has had. My kids think the concepts are ridiculous, but maybe they are blessed with intellects a little higher than the target audience. My suspicion is the target audience might have to have only an IQ slightly higher than the dying rat for these ads to have impact.