This guy might be conventionally attractive, but after watching this commercial for VIP E-Cigs, I feel like I’ve been sexually harassed. I get what they’re going for, I do! Risque penis jokes, phallic objects that go in your mouth, I get it! But I’m uncomfortable.
According to Jezebel:
[The commercials] received complaints from viewers who felt the content was too adult and that they glamorized smoking. But VIP says they created the ad to get around recent ASA rulings that have criticized previous manufacturers for not making it clear that e-cigarettes are for adults and contain nicotine, and that make it illegal for them to show the product in their commercials.
VIP’s stern rebuttal to the criticism reads:
Due to advertising regulations we were not permitted to include the product in the ad, so we decided to take a tongue-in-cheek approach to appeal to an adult audience and communicate the superior taste of VIP products, whilst making it clear that the product does contain nicotine and that they are only available to smokers over the age of 18.
We anticipated that the creative treatment for this campaign would cause comment and we were ready for this, but I want to make it very clear that as a leading e-cigarette manufacturer we take our responsibilities extremely seriously which is evident in our decision not to broadcast the ads before the watershed and follow the advertising rules closely.
The commercials, which come in four different varieties (see below for other iterations), have been shown online before, receiving similarly concerned reactions. Last night stirred up even more controversy, according to the Daily Mail, when the commercials aired during a 9.10pm showing of I’m a Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here!, a British reality television show. The advertisements are now being investigated by the Advertising Standards Agency.