Wait a minute… That’s no cigarette!

Every now and then I come across an advert that makes me go, “Ooh. That’s good.” Except… it’s missing a trick.

Advert about sugar using image of a cigarette made from sugar

A striking image and the potential to be a great advert. What’s missing?

This is one of those adverts: 

Eye-catching image: check. That’s a cigarette… wait a minute! That’s no cigarette!

Great copy, very well done. It’s clever without being clever. It makes its point extremely subtly, but not so subtly you don’t get it.

There are two things missing though: a headline, and actually that’s a pretty big downside because the danger with this ad is that people will glance at it and think “oh it’s another give up smoking ad and I don’t smoke.” They might notice it’s sugar… but they might not.

The other thing missing is a call to action.

You could argue it’s an awareness ad…

But I’d counter that argument with, “What a waste of a strong ad.” You’ve probably got and kept people’s attention, got them shifting uncomfortably – it certainly got me shifting uncomfortably because although I’m not a sugar fiend I eat far too much of it (like 99% of everyone in the western world).

After they’ve got me feeling uncomfortable, though… what then? It might bother me for another hour or so – until another butterfly comes along to distract me and I see a cake I want.

The time to ask for action is when you’ve fired up your reader’s emotions. Jolted them into an uncomfortable – or an aspirational – mood.


Want to know a bit more about advertising successfully? Grab a copy of my book, Business For SuperheroesApparently it’s not bad:

“Superb book, this book is a very easy read and very funny. The advice is simple, straight forward and easy to follow. There is lots of free information. I really enjoyed reading it.” – UK

Grab your copy here.



Vicky Fraser is a copywriter, author, and entrepreneur. She really did run away with the circus… but when she’s not swinging from a trapeze, she’s showing other copywriters and small business owners how to work with better clients, make more money, and stop missing bathtimes, first words, and dinners with angry partners. In fact, she wrote the book on it. Get your copy here.


0 comments… add one

Leave a Comment