A Lesson from the Tobacco Industry

Fathers and Flared Jeans
November 21, 2012
Firestarter – A Follow Up to Tobacco Industry Tactics
November 22, 2012
Show all

A Lesson from the Tobacco Industry

In the 90’s, I worked as a television and radio producer for ad agencies in the Midwest. One of my clients was an anti-tobacco non-profit organization, so I worked on public awareness ads that unveiled the tactics of big tobacco companies and their efforts to ‘hook’ potential smokers. While doing research for a new spot, I came across an excerpt taken from a documentary detailing the big tobacco companies’ marketing tactics. One of the strategies used is to intentionally market their presence to youth – knowing fully well that it’s illegal for youths to purchase cigarettes. The goal behind this strategy was to appeal to their potential market at an early age, luring them with hopes of lifelong brand loyalty. This is not an exclusive tactic of the cigarette industry. On the contrary, this marketing strategy is very popular, very effective, and extremely lucrative.

As shocking as it sounds, this is also one of Satan’s favorite tactics for creating “brand loyalty.” Have you ever been branded by other people? Have you ever been told, “You’ll never amount to anything.” “You’re so stupid.” “You’re fat.” “You’re such a loser.” You can insert a thousand other names, taunts, racial slurs, anything vile you can think of, and see that people are into labeling others, with aid and suggestions originating from Satan himself.

Let me prove it to you. Think back on your childhood. Can you recall a time when someone said something negative about you that has stuck with you all your life? Maybe it’s not a constant or active memory, but it has the ability to periodically rise to the surface of your thinking. That was the enemy’s ‘in’ – those words, his hook. Once the enemy finds a weak spot in our spirit, he continues to build his corrupt fortress upon that vulnerable ground; that false identity we come to accept through words spoken ignorantly by friends or family, or intentionally by antagonistic people. Jesus described Satan’s character to the Pharisees by saying this according to John 8:44,

“He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it.”

Unbeknownst to us, we have bought into lies the enemy has sown into our being.

The Word of God breaks these powers of negative “brand loyalty.” When we can see ourselves through the mirror of God’s truth, the lies of the enemy become apparent. Contrast John 8:44 to what Jesus says here in John 10:10,

“The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.”

We are called to experience abundant life, and that only comes through the words Jesus spoke. Believe the words of Jesus today, and begin to tear down those places of defeat that Satan has attempted to erect through words of death. Leave those tactics to the tobacco industry.


(photo credit: Valentin.Ottone)