Saturday, February 7, 2009

Marlboro Madness

Way back when, I used to smoke cigarettes. A lot. Probably much more than a lot. In fact, I was apparently such a good customer to Big Tobacco, that they would send me all kinds of coupons and promotions. Every different brand wanted ME and MY lungs!!!!!

The discounts were pouring in with the daily mail. NEWPORT promised me pleasure in their monthly Newport News newsletter. And Kool sent promos filled with happy, skinny, gorgeous people playing water sports. Funny, none of the were actually smoking Kool cigarettes in the ads...hmmmm. Tarryton offered to give me a black eye if I didn't try them (remember the old "I'd rather fight than switch" ads, where the girl always had a black eye AND a Tarryton? Do you suppose it was the Marlboro Man beating her up?) I tried smoking the super slim lady like cigarettes like Eve and Espirits, but it felt like you were smoking something illegal. And funny looking. At the same time. And when half (most?) of the reason you're smoking in the first place is to look cool, funny looking and law breaking just doesn't cut it.

Anyway, I was a Marlboro loyalist for years. And with good reason. Those hunky cowboys smoking on horses while the sunset in the background commercials beat a battered woman smoker any day!

And the prize give-a-ways! Wooo Hooo!!! Entire catalogs came of what I could "purchase" with those little bar codes off each pack of cigarettes! Each bar code was worth five points, and for about 1,800 points (That's 360 PACKS of cigarettes!!!) you could redeem them for a cigarette lighter with which to light more cigarettes and earn more points!!! Yea, Me!

Oh, there were other prizes. The camping equipment for 3,800 points (we got that as a joint effort, my ex and I, smoking up as much as we could for it! Turns out the tent was only big enough to fit two small kids, which was perfect, as OUR tent stunk from all that cigarette smoke!

There was the rolling duffel bag luggage on wheels for a mere 5,200 points. THAT one was a good buy, 'cause after smoking 20,200 cigarettes, there was NO WAY I was carrying anything anywhere!

There were the ash trays, tee shirts, and board games, all sporting the signature Marlboro logo. We even chose the blue speckled outdoor coffee pot, 'cause nothing goes better with that early morning cigarette than some nice caffeine!

They offered kayaks, and bicycles, and canoes. There was hiking equipment and rock climbing accessories. You really had to wonder about these mad ad men at Marlboro -All of whom I'm sure were chain smoking in the brainstorming marketing department while thing up this stuff......

Didn't they KNOW that WE, THEIR adoring loyal customers, were all hacking and wheezing heavy smokers???!!!! The only way I'd be pedaling that bicycle, or hiking, or rock climbing, for that matter, would be if I ran out of cigarettes and needed a ride to the local smoke shop!

Wouldn't it have been more beneficial to offer us iron lungs redeemable for 157,000 bar codes? Or maybe a free cancer treatment for every 90,500 points. How about some new paint to cover up the tobacco stains on the kitchen ceiling? NOW they'd be onto something!!!

But, alas, we took the swag of smokers and told ourselves we smoked for the freebies. Then Marlboro announced they were ending their promotional bar code swaps. Seems the big bad people at the American Cancer Society were making an impact and ruining it for all of us! Those Marlboro Man has throat cancer didn't exactly help much either!

Americans every where had 6 months to light up and send in our codes. I think I even started smoking more heavily as the days ticked down.

I ordered a kayak, and still had some bar codes left over, but not enough to get anything. They did have drawings you could enter though. For every bar code you sent in, you could enter one of many drawings.

They had great prizes.
They were giving away a real horse.
They were giving away a cattle ranch somewhere in Oregon.
They were giving away saddles, and blankets, and all this real cool stuff, that at the very least, you could e-bay it.

I entered. And waited. And forgot all about it.
My kayak came. I never used it. Naturally.

I finally quit smoking.

Two weeks later, I came home to a box on my front porch from my good friends at Marlboro. I. Was. A. Winner! The big giveaway and all those cigarettes and babies with low birth weight finally paid off. I was a big winner.

THIS is what I won.
From Marlboro Madness

Yep, that's right. Six feet of steer horns. In New York. Perfect for the great room, no?

Sigh. Well, I DID win something. And it sure is different. I think Big Tobacco only did this because they want me back. Well, they just may have to sweeten the pot just a bit more to woo me. Now, had they sent me a fine pair of cowgirl boots, THEN we could talk, 'cause it's ALWAYS about the shoes on THIS farm.


Christine said...

Hah! You have incredible timing! Two years ago this month I stopped smoking. The insanity has been recorded here.

Blogger said...

Are you paying more than $5 per pack of cigarettes? I'm buying my cigs over at Duty Free Depot and I'm saving over 50%.