Quite often, the best solution to an overwhelming problem is to quit fighting it-but in a way that takes advantage of the situation. Make a positive out of a negative.

Over the years, there has been an onslaught of public awareness messaging about the evils of smoking. Unless you’ve been living in a cave, you are highly aware that smoking is not only bad for you, it could kill you.

Smokers understand this. But it doesn’t deter them. And the warnings on cigarette packs make no difference to them. It’s the “rebel without a cause” syndrome. That’s why increasing the size of the warnings or restricting the warm and fuzzy marketing of the product isn’t really that effective.

Our marketing advice to cigarette companies in this heavily regulated era is to fully accept the new aggressive anti-smoking restrictions and avoid wallowing in the government’s apocalyptic health warnings. Don’t make excuses or dance around the stepped-up regulations, just transform the whole cigarette pack into a three-dimensional warning label. Turn the entire initiative into the visual equivalent of a bad-ass motorcycle jacket adorned with leering skulls, deadly snakes, gruesome medical drawings, and gothic tattoo lettering. Accentuate the underground counter-culture attitude of smoking and rejoice in the deadly sin.

Now that’s cool.  BP

DJ Stout is a partner in the Austin office of Pentagram. Reach him at 512.476.3076 or djstout@texas.pentagram.com