When marketing a controversial product, it’s always good to have a familiar face.
Blu, a maker of electronic cigarettes, has signed actor Stephen Dorff (FILMS) to appear in advertising and act as a spokesperson for the brand in a new national advertising campaign. The campaign, which carries the theme “Rise from the ashes,” features Dorff in a black-and-white television commercial speaking of the negatives of smoking and the advantages to Blu.
“Negative, One: I’m tired of being a walking ashtray,” Dorff says to the camera on a deck by the beach. “Negative, Two: I’m tired of feeling guilty every time I want to light up.” After proclaiming that he’s been a smoker for 20 years, Dorff goes on to explain that Blu eCigs are “a smarter alternative” because they allow him to “enjoy smoking” without disturbing the people around him because the emissions are vapor, not smoke.
“With Blu, you can smoke at a basketball game if you want to,” he says. “And how about not having to go outside every ten minutes when you’re at a bar with your friends?” Over shots of Dorff appearing to inhale and exhale smoke (although it is water vapor, as he claims), Dorff ends the spot saying: “We’re all adults here. It’s time we take our freedom back. C’mon guys, rise from the ashes.”
In a behind-the-scenes video, Dorff explains that the freedom of being able to use the electronic cigarettes virtually anywhere is what motivated him to get involved in the ad campaign. “I’ve never done an ad like this or a campaign like this,” he says in the video. The commercials were shot in conjunction with Dorff’s production company.
Dorff will also appear in print advertisements that showcase him in bars and outdoors. A representative for the company said the advertisements will run on “age-appropriate” cable outlets and publications.
Although electronic cigarettes have been touted as a more palatable alternative to traditional cigarettes, they are not without controversy. An advocacy group called Americans for Non-Smokers says marketers of e-cigarettes have been touting the benefits of their product without having scientific evidence to support their claims.
“Most egregious are direct advertisements with false and misleading claims, including that e-cigarettes are effective smoking cessation devices, that e-cigarette use is permissible in all indoor environments including venues that are smokefree by local or state law,” writes the group in a section covering electronic cigarettes on its Web site.
The representative for Blu acknowledged that some smaller companies may push the line in their marketing claims, but added that Blu (which is owned by Lorillard) looks at its marketing as a “serious matter.”