MUSE Platinum

2022

The Little Big Lie

Entrant Company

Duncan Channon

Category

Video - Public Service & Activism

Client's Name

California Tobacco Control Program

Country / Region

United States

It’s been over 70 years since Big Tobacco added filters to cigarettes as a marketing and cost reduction tactic. We all know that cigarette butts are litter, but our surroundings have been covered by these butts for so long that we’ve grown to accept them as the norm. And while as a society we have taken steps to remove or reduce other plastics like bottles or straws, cigarette butts have a cloak of invisibility over them, and part of the reason for that is because people assume they’re made from natural sources.



However, each butt, and there are trillions made every year, is made from 15,000 microplastic strands that are not biodegradable. And the environmental harm from tobacco waste is more than litter and is extremely concerning and multifaceted: water toxicity, deforestation, factory pollution, and more, including microplastics.



Our challenge was to lift the veil. We needed to educate Californians on the very real harms of the tobacco industry’s plastic waste and on the invisible harms that cigarette butts are inflicting on humans.



Instead of blaming the smoker, on which so many traditional cigarette butt pollution campaigns have focused, we sought to redirect attention to the real root of the problem: the deceit of the tobacco industry surrounding the manufacturing and destructive, cumulative side effects cigarette filters and their microplastics have on our environment.



Much like the tobacco industry creates marketing with deceptively benign messaging, we chose to use rhyming and brightly illustrated scenes that might seem harmless, but once it captures your attention, it reveals the harsh truth about the harm caused by Big Tobacco’s filters: those little cigarette butts are costing all of us. This was central to our creative strategy - in mimicking the industry’s approach we reveal the underlying nightmare that is caused by these seemingly innocuous filters.

Credits

Strange Beast Production
Production Partner
California Tobacco Control Program
Client
Walker
Music and Sound Design
Duncan Channon
Creative Agency
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