Collection: Celebrity Cameo
The growing popularity of e-cigarettes has led its manufacturers to leave no stone unturned in marketing to consumers. Taking a page out of the tobacco advertising playbook used in the mid 20th century, e-cigarette (e-cig) manufacturers are using celebrity endorsements to drum up enthusiasm for their products and hook teenagers. With celebrities endorsing e-cigs, billed as the “healthier alternative to traditional cigarettes,” smoking or in this case vaping of e-cigs has become a fashion statement once again.
As there are no marketing restrictions on e-cigs, slick television ads of celebrities puffing away on their personal vaporizers frequently bombard the airwaves. In Blu’s campaign, Stephen Dorff and Jenny McCarthy urge people to take back their independence with the slogan “Rise from the Ashes.” In the ad featuring McCarthy, black and white shots of her exhaling smoke, highlight the blue tip of Blu e-cigs and make the entire experience look cool. In the ad, she goes on to say the best part of her e-cigarette is that she can use it ‘‘without scaring that special someone away’’ and can avoid kisses that ‘‘taste like an ashtray’’ when she’s out at her favorite club. Ads for e-cig manufacturer NJOY feature rocker Courtney Love, in an expletive-laced ad, in which supporters of indoor smoking bans are portrayed as “stuffy” and “stuck-up,” while the rocker is portrayed as free-spirited and independent.
e-cig companies have gone where no other tobacco company has gone in advertising by using images of dead celebrities to promote their products. There are photoshopped images of yesteryear celebrities such as Marilyn Monroe, James Dean, John Lennon, George Washington and even Christopher Columbus using the product. A recent ad by Blu e-cigs has the image of President Thomas Jefferson alongside the text, “Father of freedom- of course he’s smoke blu. #Truth”
The insidious practice by big tobacco companies to use celebrity endorsements and testimonials for hawking their products was the norm during the 1920s to 1960s. The practice ended only in 1964 when the FDA banned it. Until the practice is similarly banned for e-cigs, a generation of youth will be exposed to ads with celebrities promoting the product as cool and glamorous.
1. Eliott, S. (2013, August 29). E-Cigarette Makers’ Ads Echo Tobacco’s Heyday. New York Times.
Available at http://www.nytimes.com/2013/08/30/business/media/e-cigarette-makers-ads-
2. Johnson, G.A. (2013, October 16). Stephen Dorff: Actor a hot commodity in ads, films. San
Francisco Chronicle. Available at http://www.sfgate.com/movies/article/Stephen-Dorff-Actor-a-