Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Advertising The Sailing Lifestyle. Part 3: Smoke On The Water

We all have our vices. For better or worse, many of us seek comfort from additives that aren't good for us. Despite sharp warnings from the Surgeon General and grotesque imagery on cigarette packs, a large percentage of the population still puffs away on their cigarettes, even though the popular smoke-break has become more difficult than ever seeing as cigarette smoking is now a publicly forbidden pastime. Smoking was once a prevalent force in advertising long before studies revealed it to be extremely harmful to one's health, and even shortly thereafter the ads continued. In the past smoking was perceived as the epitome of 'cool' and the quintessential expression of relaxation. The relationship between smoking and sailing are no exception, the thought of smoking on board a boat instantly conjures up imagery of salty captains and rugged crew members of days gone by, or unwinding on a pleasure cruise after a long afternoon of messing about on the water.

I have been both a smoker and a non-smoker and now a smoker again. Smoking was the norm in my glory days of being in a band and working in bars and nightclubs in SF, we all smoked on the job and so did most of our clientele. And after quitting for 12 years, I've taken up this nagging habit again thanks to several recent trips to Europe. It isn't something I am proud of and I know I will quit again soon, but for now it's something that I enjoy. Because of my complicated friendship with cigarettes, I can fully appreciate the pleasure one receives from a good smoke, and also completely understand the disgust that some people have when in the presence of a smoker.

It's interesting to look at these ads below, the perception of smoking and sailing as something fun and almost even somewhat healthy. The refreshing experience of the great outdoors was complemented nicely with the addition of that tobacco crutch... or so we thought. The truth is, the natural high of sailing needs no embellishments, the pure invigorating feeling of flying along the water unassisted by nothing but the control of the wind is something that can't be harnessed and sold in convenient little packages.

Advertising The Sailing Lifestyle. Part 2: Happy Place
Advertising The Sailing Lifestyle. Part 1: Auto Pilot

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