Thursday, April 29, 2010

Brown paper packages tied up with string


Saatchi & Saatchi Silk Cut Ads circa 1984




I awoke this morning to an email from Ms O'Dyne alerting me to the hilarious (if the fate of a nation wasn't involved that is) unfoldings of 'bigotgate' in the UK. By the time the question Why and I had settled onto the settee for our elevensees chardonnay, all the funniest things had already been said, so we reluctantly turned to Australian politics and found our own little gem.

The Australian Government announced today that from midnight tonight, the price of cigarettes will rise by about $2 a packet (to approx $15 for a packet of 25). You might well yawn at this or cough and curse if you are a smoker living in Australia. The question Why and I are not smokers. I was once a regular smoker back in the 80s where I probably peaked at 15 a day. These days I will have one if someone offers, which is unlikely to happen except on New Year's Eve. I now smoke, on average, two cigarettes a year. If you really want to witness me melt down, come back when the glut of cheap chardonnay dries up at around the same time as I'm trying to claim my useless British pension.

The more interesting aspect of the Australian Government's attack on tabac is the decision to order the 'brown packaging' of all tobacco products by 2012. After all those years of pariahising smoking, they're now going to re-mystify ciggies by ordering them to dress as contraband? The question Why and I are intrigued. As we both lived in Britain in the 80s, we recall with more than a little tittering pleasure that it was Margaret Thatcher's own Saatchi & Saatchi who snookered her attempts to ban cigarette advertising with their campaign for Silk Cut.

Neither the question Why nor I liked Silk Cut cigarettes as they tasted horrible and their 'low tar' status was achieved by punching a couple of holes in each cigarette so that the 'tar' could evaporate into the atmosphere along with the ability to keep them alight which is why most people who smoked them wrapped a Rizla paper around the holes. The question Why and I are at a loss as to why anyone bought them. We bought B&H. Even though their copycat advert of Silk Cut's was rubbish, the smokes were better. Saatchi & Saatchi's brilliance probably kept the brand alive.

Dear Kevin, the question Why and I, even though we are pissed before sundown, are still astute enough to know that packaging anything in brown paper will make it instantly attractive. Put us down for a couple of packets, yeah?