Commercials that advise against things are always going to have it rough when compared to ads that urge people to do things, particularly where smoking is concerned. The stereotypical drug-free commercials of the 1980s have morphed into ironically non-hip and hyper-modern spots from The Truth, a campaign that pulls few punches in its mission. And now they’re bringing cat suffering into it. Check out the madness, which aired during tonight’s Grammy Awards, below.
If this were a drunk driving commercial, the depressing element would be at the forefront, and we’d get a small bio about a specific feline that died of lung cancer due to its owner’s nicotine addiction. But over at The Truth, they’re throwing all caution and overtly maudlin decisions out of the window by going after the inexplicable popularity of cat videos on YouTube. For some people, that’s probably akin to spitting on their mother.
Using a bass-bumping track from Party Favor and the hyperbolic hashtag #Catmageddon, the ad is essentially one second’s worth of information about the probability of a cats getting cancer in a smoker’s home. Plus a whole bunch of funny cats! That one cat is like a pirate! That one is playing a piano! That one is kicking a sheet over an ashtray as if he’s seen this commercial already! It’s like magic!
As gaudy and manufactured as this commercial, and most other The Truth commercials, is from beginning to end, there’s definitely nothing erroneous about angling a fear tactic at one’s pet, since some people will treat their animals better than children. Of course, those owners probably aren’t the kind of people who go off hot-boxing a car with the pet inside, but the spot’s viral-ability will likely give it a wide audience, where it can reach the true monsters out there.
It’s strange to be living in a world where cigarettes on TV shows have largely been eradicated, but smoking weed is fine (or at least no longer as stigmatized). Is it odd that I long for a day when a Truth commercial is followed by a pot ad?
As a post-script here, I am admittedly the opposite of the intended audience for this ad. I don’t smoke, and I hate cats. So what this commercial is doing is giving me an evil genius plan that would not only eventually “take care” of one of my least favorite living creatures, but it would also kill me faster, so that I wouldn’t have to be in a world with cats anymore. Flawless. But seriously, keep your pets safe, since they’ll love you when no one else will.
Now someone reach out to Mountain Dew and tell them it would be a terrible idea to make a PuppyMonkeyCancerSurvivorCat ad for next year’s Super Bowl.