In this thought-provoking public service ad from Brazil, smokers are unwillingly placed in front of an ex-smoker who suffered from larynx cancer 14 years after he stopped smoking. As a result of his condition, his vocal chords were removed and he now depends on the use of an electronic larynx to aid his speech.
The ad starts by introducing the middle-aged man, João, and the positive aspects of his life; an established professor, a grandfather, president of his rotary club, all presented to the unsuspecting viewers with supers… Which of course adds the element of surprise upon first hearing him speak.
He goes on to pose as a shopkeeper at a newsstand, engaging in conversation with the unsuspecting customers who are unable to avoid noticing his voice. When asking for cigarettes, he unloads the sad truth of his condition, leaving them with serious food for thought.
What is great about this is the realism; these are members of the public who have innocently gone to the newsstand to buy a packet of cigarettes. With no immediate concern for their health, they are abruptly confronted by this sad case.
Once they have had their encounter with João, these members of the public are asked their thoughts. One of the unsuspecting members of the public had even talked about wanting to give back his packet of cigarettes – although it is not made clear as to whether he did, which leaves an interesting inner-query for the viewer regarding how addiction works, and how people will continue bad habits despite the obvious dangers.
Another serious reminder of the risks of smoking – and another example of the impact that can be made by shock-advertising.