Cigarette Advertising Throughout History

Relations between the advertising industry and the government can be tricky. The government controls what is allowed to be advertised and how. And advertisers and industries have to try to keep up with regulations. Occasionally, new regulations can shake up an entire industry. This happened three times for tobacco companies, in 1966, 1972, and 1997.

Initially, the Cigarette Labeling and Advertising Act of 1966 required all cigarette packaging and advertisements to have a clear warning label that smoking was dangerous for consumers’ health. At the time, it was not yet widely accepted that smoking was a health hazard, and it marred the image that cigarette companies were trying to portray of happy, healthy, sexy adults as those who smoked. From then on, a bright warning sign adorned the sleek design tobacco companies packaged their products in.

In 1972, the Public Health Cigarette Smoking Act banned the advertisement of cigarettes on television and radio then the primary methods of advertisement. This forced tobacco companies to rely on print and billboard advertising, limiting their reach.

The strongest move came in 1997 with the passing of the Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement. It banned outdoor and transportation cigarette advertisement in 46 states. With TV, radio and outdoor advertising all banned, tobacco companies are really only left with print. It also prohibited techniques for advertising to young people (such as use of cartoons).

The question of free speech is raised when it comes to regulation of ads. It’s clear to most that smoking deteriorates a person’s health. The government is simply trying to ensure the wellbeing of its citizens. However, at what point is it a violation of free speech? In Canada, when similar questions were raised, it resulted in a lawsuit that all the way up to their Supreme Court. The district court ruled in favor of the tobacco companies, saying that such limitations violated free speech rights, but the Supreme Court ruled that the laws were within legal bounds. It’s a very murky grey area with no solid line to determine where free speech can be limited to protect citizens.

Similar questions continue to be raised in various industries today. Navigating government advertising regulations can be a confusing process. Associations like the OAAA and 4A’s help advertisers and media companies decipher legislation.

DOmedia is proud to support the OAAA and other industry groups which help the industry do what it does best: focus on strategy and creativity.

Verizon creates a car that rolls over traffic

Verizon came up with a futuristic and out-of-the-box way to advertise their new Hum module: they built a car that drives over traffic. The company turned to special effects firm Thinkmodo to innovate the vehicle, and it turned out to be quite a stunner. The car looks similar to a Jeep Cherokee but weighs twice as much, and includes over 300 feet of hydraulic lines in order to literally lift it over traffic. The car’s exterior includes the Hum logo to convey what’s actually being advertised, and is also painted bright blue in case it driving over cars wasn’t enough to catch your attention. Unfortunately, the car is one-of-a-kind, so rolling over California traffic is still just a commuter’s dream. Watch the car in action below.

This incredibly creative and innovative rolling out-of-home ad points to an increasing trend of companies looking to catch attention first and fill in what they’re actually advertising afterwards. The car didn’t make it very clear what the Hum actually was. But, by drawing attention, intrigue is boosted, encouraging consumers to do their own research. Turns out, the Hum is actually a service to make your car “smarter” by monitoring vehicle health, offering roadside assistance and several other services. Consumers are constantly being bombarded with advertising messages, standing out is becoming increasingly important and difficult. Creativity is key, or else a message will be lost in the sea of information. Verizon demands attention with this tactic.

Want to take your own stab at a creative out-of-home ad? DOmedia’s inventory may have just what you need to get your message heard.

Notable Billboards- Part 4

For part four of our Notable Billboards series, we’re bringing you a couple international billboards from Vienna and Stockholm!

1) Adidas Ferris Wheel

Stationed in front of Vienna’s giant 212-foot ferris wheel, this creative billboard from Adidas is impossible to ignore. The arms of the pictured goalie Petr Cech mimic the ferris wheel while also playing off of the imagery of an impassable goalie. Installed right before the 2008 EuroCup, the audience the billboard reached was as perfect as some of Cech’s saves.

2) The Day After Tomorrow

In this case it’s the placement rather than the billboard itself that makes this ad great. Taking the idea of Day After Tomorrow being an apocalypse film, the agency’s decision to put the board in the middle of the ocean is rather fitting. It definitely earned some second glances, because who expects to see a billboard in the ocean?

3) Apolosophy Subway

Though it’s not exactly a billboard, this digital sign in Stockholm was too cool for us to leave out. Sensors in the sign sensed subway trains’ arrivals and reacted by sending the model’s hair flying. The ad draws attention to her hair and makes the message, about hair product, extremely relevant. It’s a really cool DOOH installment which obviously turned some heads, as you can see in the video below.


Want more stunning billboards? Check out past posts in our series here.

Coca-Cola revamps their “Share a Coke” campaign

Back in 2011, Coca-Cola initiated its “Share a Coke” campaign in Australia. They started with just 150 names, and it has grown to be one of their most memorable and successful campaigns. Every summer since, Coca-cola has revamped the campaign by adding names, expanding to more of their products, going beyond names (such as nicknames and song titles), and making an online store where people could customize and order their own Coke bottle. This summer, Coke is bringing the campaign back with two new twists. Last names will New Share a Cokestart being available as well as variations that are popular vacation spots.

The vacation destination part of the campaign is perfect as we enter summer. Not everyone can afford to pack up and head to Ibiza, but a Coke with the city’s name on it is as close as some of us can hope to get. It plays on the summer wanderlust and pulls us in.

The addition of last names is genius for two reasons. First, it brings back the excitement of trying to find your name on the shelves. Second, people will want to buy two Cokes instead of one. Since first and last names are on separate bottles, consumers are encouraged to buy two Cokes and make their full name. Who knows, maybe people with middle names will buy three.

But, what makes this campaign so successful? Personalization and connection. Consumers can find part of the brand that is, in a sense, theirs. It’s a “look that’s me!” factor. At the DOmedia office, we searched for our names every time we bought a soda. And, we bought more sodas that summer than usual. It just added to the Coke experience. Relating back to the consumer is huge in today’s marketing environment, and Coca-Cola has continued to be an outstanding example of hard-to-achieve success.

Creative campaigns like these are what brands need to aim for to get their message heard. But, planning complex campaigns requires sophisticated tools. Initiatives like this inspire our team to keep pushing technology forward so that advertisers can focus on strategic thinking and creative execution. Want to learn more about how DOmedia powers agencies, brands and media vendors to be “OOH heroes”? Contact

ANA Brand Activation Conference 2017

ANA LogoThe ANA’s two-and-a-half day Brand Activation Conference will be held in Chicago from today to the 21st. Leaders from top companies such as Ford, Coca-Cola and AT&T will be addressing the difficulties in getting a brand message heard and how to combat them.

ANA’s annual REGGIE awards will take place the first night of the conference, recognizing some of the year’s best ad campaigns. Music artist James TW will perform, and food and drinks will be served. This recognition of excellent advertising campaigns highlights the best and brightest of our industry, and we love to celebrate their success.

During the conference attendees will have the opportunity to learn from the marketing triumphs of industry leaders. How does a brand shine through in an age where consumers are oversaturated with marketing messages? What contributes to a successful ad campaign? Some of the most pressing questions will be answered at this year’s Brand Activation Conference, and those not in attendance can keep with with #ANAActivate on social media.