Why Smoking Is GOOD for you and the Advertising Behind it

by Paul Wilson


With all the brilliant ways to do web marketing I am amazed that banner ads are still alive. We see them every where, so someone still finds impression advertisement effective. For me the banner ad was born dead (or at least mostly dead ūüėČ ). Even back in the 90’s I never clicked on them, I felt they were invasive¬†and annoying (as I assume that a lot of people do).

Yet, like spam, banner ads penetrate the masses with nothing more than¬†sheer¬†brute force and undodged determination. Whether it is with the old static skyscraper ads or the new interactive—play a game or punch President Bush—banners, you cannot but surf a few popular websites without being annoyed by them.

The other day I clicked on my first banner ad in over a decade. The ad copy stated: “Warning: Smoking Can Used To Kill You” (see actual ad below). I looked at the ad for a long time before clicking on it. First, I was trying to tell myself that I didn’t need to encourage businesses using intrusive advertising to get my attention. Second, I was trying to figure out what the ad’sangle was. Finally, my curiosity won and I succumbed to yet another marketing scheme and clicked on the banner.


The ad took me to an article and a youtube video, which talked about a new fake (yes fake) cigarette. Truthfully, I am surprised that has taken this long to provide this product to help people to quit smoking.

However, the product isn’t my real intrigue. What fascinates me is their marketing. How do you get a die hard advocate against banner advertising to click on a banner? Simple, you make your ad so shocking or different from the norm that the person wants has to click on it. I’m not even a smoker, that’s the funny thing. In fact, I have never even tried a cigarette. Yet, I clicked.

To me, this is great marketing, not necessarily the intrusive part, but rather the type of marketing that compels a user (even if he or she won’t ever use the product) to engage with the advertising. Unfortunately, we don’t see too much of this type of marketing or advertising. I think the only thing that comes close is the Super Bowl commercials. I honestly have friends who hate football but watch the Super Bowl for the commercials. That is true power.

It would be fun for someone to create a blog that took annoying bland banner ads and refashioned them into ads that really drew people in. I know many advertisers think they already do this, but let’s be honest, do you really surf the Internet for the banner ads? I didn’t think so.

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