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Create Your Own Honest Ads

BADvertising is a special way of seeing;

a way of thinking.

Anyone can BADvertise, any time,
by looking for the truth behind an ad.

To actually construct your own honest ads, all you need is….

  • Lots of tobacco ads or pictures of celebrities smoking. Discarded magazines, movie posters, CD and DVD covers provide seductive images of kid's favorite stars smoking. (You might want to scan and resize them)
  • Lots of medical journals and glossy magazines for images that tell the truth about smoking.
  • Scissors and matt knife (or single-edged razor blade)
  • Re-stickable glue sticks
  • Background paper (9 x 12" black construction paper makes a stunning display for a group of BAD-Ads)

You can BADvertise with family and friends around the kitchen table, as a class project,

or as an ice-breaker at a professional meeting.

(Don't forget to document the process with plenty of photos!)

Start with a Truth-in-Advertising Show and Tell

  • Round up a heap of popular magazines, CDs, and DVDs. Take a look! Which ones have tobacco ads or encourage smoking? Who are they targeting?
  • What is their message? And what methods do they use to communicate that message?
  • What do the ads really want you to do?
  • Tear out all of the tobacco ads and images promoting smoking. (While you're at it, tear out the alcohol ads or any other ads that deceive the viewer)

At the same time, tear out any pictures that communicate a more honest impression about what really happens when you use tobacco.

Put these "honest" pictures in a separate pile.

Don't forget to look in the medical journals.

Invite a doctor to come in to talk about the ads in the medical journals.

Which ads depict diseases caused by tobacco use?

Compare the ads for prescription drugs and medical equipment with the tobacco ads.

Many big businesses are profiting from tobacco-related illnesses.

What are the political and economic ramifications?


How To Create your own "Honest ads"...

    Spread out the ads on the floor.

    Put all of your dishonest ads in one area.

Put all of your "honest" images together in another area.

    Take it all in.

This is a game of "matching".


It's best to work quickly with what you've got.

Don't think too much!

Check out the messages, the colors, the sizes of the images.

Are there some that just seem to go together?

    Choose the tobacco ads and the honest images that you want to work with.

Cut out the honest images, and place them on top of the tobacco ads.

You can lay the pieces directly on a piece of black construction paper, or any kind of backing while you're working. This will hold your BAD-Ad together while you work and serve as the frame when you're finished.

When you have something that looks good and makes a strong, honest statement, set it aside and go on to another. Don't glue anything down yet. If one ad doesn't work out as you had hoped, set it aside and try another. You may get some even better ideas as you continue working.

    When you've exhausted your ideas (or the time limit), glue your pieces in place with the re-stick able glue stick and paste the whole thing to the construction paper.

NOTE: You can also do your BADvertising on the computer. It's a more cerebral and solitary approach, but you can BADvertise anything that you can scan or capture on camera.

If you're not a computer whiz, enlist the aid of the computer wizards at your local schools, universities, NGO's, or corporations.

    Show the World

    Find public spaces to exhibit your newly BADvertised ads...hospitals, banks, libraries, shopping malls, movie theaters, bowling alleys, shop windows, everywhere! Use your imagination.

    Print your BAD-Ads on T-shirts, book bags, jackets, restaurant place mats, dirigibles... Anything's possible!

Put your Honest-Ads up on billboards.

Go directly to a billboard company or ask a tobacco prevention organization to help you.)

Send out press releases!

Call the newspapers; alert the radio and TV stations.

Create a buzz on the talk shows.

You might want to build a BADvertising Team. Include community leaders who can help you get your BAD-Ads out into the world.


Make an Honest-Ad; save a life!"


NOTE: For info on our BADvertising Workshops and Train-the-Trainer Seminars, see BADVERTISING PROGRAMS


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