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23 July 2003 @ 11:17 pm
The semantics of pseudo-PSAs  
Well, that was disorienting.

It looked like a typical PSA-style commercial. The theme was, "your kids will thank you", so it was obvious that something shmaltzy would end it. They would probably say that your kids will thank you for talking to them about drugs or something.

It did, in a way: Your kids will thank you for talking to them about *tobacco*.

At that point I'm certain it's one of those Philip Morris commercials -- the ones that seem to scream "we're just doing this to keep the government off our backs, but *you* know what we really mean". The ones that clearly are an industry attempt to demonstrate that they're taking care of a problem and don't need no stinkin' regulation. The ones that strain to convey the message that "our products are just great, but it's okay for you children to say you don't want some".

The pseudo-PSAs.

Then, at the very end of the spot, they actually cut the sound into the conversation the guy is having with his "daughter" at the playground. "Besides," he says, "if you start, it's really hard to quit."

What is this?

Are they *bragging*? Have they given up even the pretense that they aren't marketing a highly-addictive poison? Are they winking at those of us who have heard how much they've worked to make their cigarettes more addictive?

I just don't get what possible purpose they had for paying for speaking actors when one of the two lines reminds half the viewing audience why they're widely considered scumbags.

Then again, the girl's sole line was "I know."

Maybe they're trying to say that even schoolkids know cigarettes are addictive, so anybody who sues on the grounds that they didn't know must be shamming.

It's a mystery.

(It was in fact Philip Morris, by the way.)