WTF’s up with Whudafxup?

August 11th, 2007 by John , Category : News

First off, let me open up by saying that I never thought I’d ever be defending Big Tobacco, in fact, of everything I’ve done in this life, this could actually be the dirtiest I’ve ever felt. Hell, I don’t even smoke. Not cigarettes anyway.

But one of those “truth” ads has been slightly mislabeled, either that or truth has been redefined. When you call a public service ad campaign “Truth” people are gonna expect…I don’t know… 100% Veracity from the PSA ad.

Now, I’m not going to slander (or is that libel?) Truth or Whudafxup, and say that they took the truth & presented it with an anti-tobacco slant. Whether they did or didn’t I don’t care, I got tired of them & their whining after that theatre campaign with the big musical number right before the previews. I’m just going to attribute THIS particular inaccuracy to either sloppy research, or just them being too young & naïve.

The Ad that I’m referring to is the one where the dude dresses up like some sort of mutant puppet (Dare we say Muppet?) & walks up to some adults in what seems to be some sort of urban business center & gets treated rudely & heads over to a park where these kids start playing with him. They make a point of how tobacco execs agreed to stay away from kids movies & then one of them had their product featured in “the Muppet Movie” .

He makes a claim that the costume he’s wearing appeals more to kids than to adults. I’m sorry, but he was asking the wrong adults. They should’ve shown him walking through Coconut Grove in Miami late night on a Friday or Saturday, which would’ve gotten him the proper demographic. Probably would’ve gotten him laid too.

I was in High School when the Muppet Movie came out. I saw it in a theatre (The old Miracle Theatre on Miracle Mile, back when they used to show movies, not plays) Let me tell you something, I saw it 4 times in a theatre, every time I saw it there were more adults than kids in the theatre. It played in midnight shows back when there were no midnight shows for kids. What Truth isn’t taking into account is the fact that the Muppets had incredible Stoner Appeal.

>>Legal Disclaimer: Before the fine folks at Disney decide to scramble the lawyers. I am in no way saying that Jim Henson in any way, shape, or form made the Muppets for stoners. He made them for everyone to enjoy. What I am saying is that the Stoners really really enjoyed them more than most, that’s all. You really can’t control who is going to like your movies, you just have to be grateful that someone does. I am sure that Walt Disney himself did not have the Stoners in mind as his demographic when he created Fantasia, but every pothead I know has it in their collection anyway. Try getting a kid to sit through Fantasia, I’ll wait… Now get a stoner to sit through it. Who stayed for the whole thing? You had to sit with the kid, didn’t you? That’s my point. I hope that all the lawyers in the land of the mouse have been given the stand down orders & don’t have to get in their flying Dumbo fighters & bombard White Powdered Doughnuts with lawsuits & cease & desists orders, & Habeus Corpus, & E Pluribus Unum. Just take the defcon back a few notches, okay?<<

That’s right, I said it the first Muppet film was not seen mainly by kids. 70-80% of the audience floated in on a thick white sweet aromatic cloud. Geez, the second time I went to see it, someone up in the balcony sparked up a doobie, I know this for a fact because I actually went upstairs to try to get a toke. (Back in the day, you were allowed to smoke in theatres, cigarettes, not weed, but luckily ushers would let it slide if you let them have a toke.)

After its initial release the Muppet Movie resurfaced a few years later doing the rounds at the local midnight show theatres. It was part of an effort by local theatres to try to capture the by then dwindling Rocky Horror Picture Show crowd. Their problem was they tried to split the crowd up with too many screen decisions. In one theatre they were playing the Muppet Movie, Heavy Metal, Lord of the Rings (the Ralph Bakshi one, not Peter Jackson), Refer Madness, the Jerk & a concert movie (I think it was Zappa’s Baby Snakes but I’m not sure) Back in the day some theatres showed older films as part of a midnight show called the midnight movie express, it was kinda like a revival house that competed with the midnight Pink Floyd laser light show at your local planetarium. Anyway, look at the movies & you tell me what kind of a crowd they were trying to attract to the midnight movie express? Kids? People who hang out in some sort of urban business center? Or the Burnouts?

C’mon, you really need to think about that?

Think about it from a theatre owner’s perspective.

  1. Stoners are more likely to pay to see a movie again & again. Due to either memory loss, or wanting to enjoy the buzz & movie with more friends.
  2. They are 50% more likely to buy overpriced concession stand food.
  3. When they do buy, they are going to buy twice as much as they normally would.
  4. If they smoked weed, they are just gonna sit there laughing their silly asses off.

Sounds like the perfect movie crowd, don’t it?

Whoops, I seem to have passed my point’s exit, let me turn this article around.

So anyway, to me the truth & Whudafxup Missed the boat on this one, there’s a good chance that big tobacco was marketing to the potheads that were going to be seeing the movie, rather than to kids, because of the big stoner crossover appeal & I’m sure the appeal wasn’t a surprise.

I’m not saying that the tobacco companies are innocent for targeting stoners, that’s wrong too, but less wrong directly marketing to kids. I’m sure they knew they would indirectly be hitting some kids with that too. But somewhere in a darkest depths of the tobacco industry’s black heart (or the organ they use to pump blood) they were more interested in trying to get the crowd that was already paying to do bad things to themselves (the Stoners) than they were the kids. The kids were probably just seen as a bonus. This is kinda like complaining about the beer ads during South Park, or the phone sex ads during Aqua Teen Hunger Force.

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