VIP ecigarette advert: Sex sells but is vaping’s credibility up in smoke?

Gabriella Griffith
Back in the 60s people could be shown smoking and drinking, as in this scene from huge TV success Mad Men
Well, they do say sex sells, and VIP’s pioneering ecigarette advert – shown for the first time last night after the 9pm watershed – has sex in bucketloads.
A minefield of innuendo, the ad features a dewy-lipped young woman in a little black dress. There are two versions, a long and short one. In the former she rubs her thigh and says: “You know that feeling you get when something’s great? You can touch it, hold it, even see it. Well, now you can taste it.” And taste it she does, taking a seductive drag on the vapestick, exhaling the vapour, while maintaining a pout that would put Victoria Beckham to shame. It’s all a bit too much.
As someone who has occasionally “vaped”, it doesn’t make me want to do it again. It feels cheap and it feels crude. Of course, using sex to sell cigarettes is no new thing. Images of glamorous women jovially puffing on ciggies were used to popularise smoking in the 50s, 60s and 70s.
But times have changed and I dare say this ad is even more overt than its vintage predecessors. It’s the wrong move for VIP. It may get people talking but it’s not likely to make it any friends in a society which is just learning about ecigarettes and could well be looking for reasons to criticise them.

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