Smoking Gets Lamer

by Omatic Design

Oh no!

CRUSH OUT your gaspers, ditch your lighters, empty the ashtrays and shut your eyes. The Food and Drug Administration is doing packaging.

The mandated addition of more prominent guv’ment labeling on tobacco packaging was a foregone conclusion owing to laws already passed. But when they recently unveiled the designs for public comment, I (who is rarely lacking for public comment) was speechless.

It’s worth perusing the FDA’s site to see the visual communication our fine government considers an effective tobacco deterrent. Apparently the idea is to bore us to fucking death before the cigs get us. The images are a mishmash of hilariously dull-witted photos and illustrations. (None of which are as shocking as the press says. You want shocking? Go buy smokes in Canada.) The typography is an inconsistent mess with zero impact. The overall messages feel like they’ve been vetted by every bureaucrat in Washington and their respective dogs. I mean, for the sweet love of Pete, at least the damned IRS forms look designed a little bit.

Hmmm…wait, what’s that sulphur smell? Why, it almost reeks of…PowerPoint! That’s right! I’m betting that these were all designed in PowerPoint. I’ve seen the signs before. Put ’em all together (36!) and you’ve got one hell of a presentation to your know-nothing mid-level boss.

Sigh. Thus begins another ill-conceived effort to change behavior that will only end up spiking the sales of cigarette cases. This looming boondoggle will enrage libertarians, thrill anti-smoking advocates, mildly annoy Big Tobacco and then just then thud on the ground, lifeless, as only the government could manage.