France finally shocked by something: anti-smoking ad

The slogan for the above anti-smoking ad currently running in France reads “Smoking means being a slave to tobacco.” Despite promoting a universally recognized good cause — getting kids to stop smoking — the ad has managed to piss off pretty much everyone. And this is in France, where the words “sex” and “scandal” (or, rather, their French equivalents) rarely appear in newspaper headlines together.

Depending on whom you ask, the ad is a “public outrage to decency” (France’s minister for families); it trivializes sexual abuse; it violates ethics rules; it verges on child pornography; it’s an “uncalled-for provocation” (France’s Confederation of Tobacco Vendors). And we’re sure there’s at least one person out there who’s offended at how it tars (heh) the reputation of blowjobs.

But is the campaign effective? We’re too old and non-French to know for sure, but something tells us no. For a start, these teen models may be sex slaves, but they’re still American Apparel-model cool. Next time, they should try casting acne-ridden nerds in the smoking role — after all, everyone knows that smoking ruins your complexion, and that’s much scarier to most teens than death. Speaking of: If you can’t convince a teen that smoking will kill them, are you really going to be able to convince them that lighting up is kind of like sucking off a pedophile?