Issuu on Google+

LaBella 1 Jonathan LaBella Short Story

It was a rainy day in Manhattan. Chuck Kasey waited in the conference room at his office. He sat sixty-eight floors above the street at the advertising headquarters for Newport Cigarettes. His boss had called him and a few of his co-workers in for a meeting. The door opened and Mr. Murkham, Chuck’s boss, walked into the room. His face had a look Chuck had seen too many times; the “no screwing around” look. He put his notes down and said, “look guys, sales are dropping a little bit and the big men up at corporate are on my ass. They said we need to go to a new demographic. We’re not getting enough money from these old people. Now I know the ASA (Advertising Standards Authority) is saying we cannot go after the young kids, but I say we hide it. You know? Don’t make it look like we are trying to get ‘em hooked but we actually do. Brainstorm some ideas boys lets go.” Chuck thought for a little and said, “Well I mean kids are impressionable, they love being cool so what if we just have a good looking guy surrounded by a bunch of sexy girls smoking a cigarette?” One of the workers said, “Yeah I agree! Lets put him in a fancy suit and make kids think those successful men who have lots of money smoke. Every kid wants to be a big shot and if they think the big shots smoke they will start smoking too.” Chuck decided to run with the idea and said, “plus if kids see their friends smoking we always have peer pressure on our side. Make them think that if they do not smoke they will be a loser. Better yet: especially for the guys, we can attack at their manliness.” Mr. Murkham interrupted, “That’s gold! Make the kid think that if he doesn’t smoke cigarettes he is a little sissy. Attack his manhood make him


LaBella 2 think that because he is not smoking he isn’t a man and he will never become a man and will always be a kid.” A long awkward silence followed. The room was taking it all in. Everyone seemed very impressed with the successful brain storming that took place. However one of the workers, Mike Chill, seemed upset. He said, “Guys, guys, guys: think about what we are doing here! We are well aware that we are selling these cigarettes to these kids. We are responsible for every single cigarette related death. Do you guy not understand we are killing these kids? Fuck! I mean attacking their masculinity and pressuring them into smoking cigarettes? So killing their selves slowly is cool? It’s not even the fact our product kills people it is the fact we are aware of it and we are going to give them to the future of our world. I can’t anymore. I resign, this is bullshit Mr. Murkham I mean the kids are just the tip of the iceberg here.” He stormed out of the office as everyone who stayed was taken aback. Chuck anxiously awaited the words that would exit his boss’s mouth. Mr. Murkham dismissed everyone. Chuck went back down and sat in his office to collect his thoughts. It was raining outside and Corbin sat in his house waiting for two of his friends to come over. He was reading Forbes Magazine and he flipped the page and he saw a goodlooking man with nice Ray-Ban sunglasses and an expensive suit. He was exhaling a cloud of smoke in a laid back posture. The man couldn’t have been more than twenty. This man and all of the pretty girls mesmerized Corbin. For Corbin smoking had always been a part of his life. His mother had died from Emphysema two summers ago and his father and his grandfather smoked on a regular basis and both worked for Newport Cigarettes. His grandfather retired three years ago after being diagnosed with lung cancer. Smoking was not frowned upon in his household. Suddenly the gears in his brain began


LaBella 3 spinning. He thought to himself, “Hey I have been born and raised in a family heavily involved in cigarettes, why don’t I try a couple?” When Corbin’s friends arrived he told them his plans and they were on board. The boys walked through Harlem and passed their school. As they walked along Corbin was in awe that there were seven stores in two blocks of the school that sold Newport cigarettes. He was a little bothered that the companies put their products where large crowd of teens would gather every day. Then he made another discovery. The price for a pack of Newports in Harlem was $4.87. In his Uncle’s suburb neighborhood the prices were $7.55 last time he was there. Corbin was familiar with the stereotype that Black people smoked only Newports but he was shocked to see that the companies actually lowered the price in predominantly black neighborhoods. Finally they entered the corner store on 131 W. 122nd street. They walked up to the desk and said they wanted to smoke cigarettes. The store clerks answer shocked Corbin. He said, “Oh I know what you boys are smokin’…Newports it is.” Corbin, outraged said, “Why do you assume I want Newports? Because I am Black? I actually wanted Marlboros but ill take the Newports because I only have five dollars.” The man apologized and gave the kids their cigarettes. Corbin and his friends went home. They smoked and then his friends left. Corbin was exhausted so he went upstairs and passed out in his bed. The cigarettes were still sitting on the table. It was 9 P.M. and Chuck was still at the office. It was a late night. He stared at the general genotype for the new youth demographic his company was targeting. He took a sip from his bottle of Jack Daniels. The closer he looked at the genotype the more he saw his son Corbin and he suddenly became sick to his stomach. He realized what he was


LaBella 4 doing. He was fully aware of his intent to target his son and kids like him to get them addicted to cigarettes. He was using kids like his son as a useless consumer just so his company could get profit. He realized how bad his company was. He was Black and he helped come up with the idea to lower the price in the poor neighborhoods and target the Blacks and basically worked off of stereotypes just to get them to buy the product. These children they were targeting weren’t even human beings to the company. They were just useless “things” to get hooked on cigarettes. His company was openly discriminating against the Blacks. The white people paid almost eight bucks for a pack while Blacks paid five. With every horrible thought that crossed his mind he resorted to the bottle, which was now half empty. He tore up the genotype and rushed home on the subway. He finally got home and stumbled into the house and what he saw brought him to his knees. Chuck saw a pack of cigarettes on the table and they clearly weren’t his. He started crying hysterically. He made up his mind that he would quit his job the next morning and he would quit smoking and he was going to do whatever it took to make sure his son never went near those devil sticks of tobacco. The next morning Chuck walked into the building and into the office. He yelled, “Everyone stop what you are doing and listen!” He went on to say “We all need to wake up now. We are a bunch of horrible people. We are discriminating against Black people and half of us here are Black for Christ’s sake. On top of that we are killing our future generation. I caught my own kid smoking last night and this all needs to stop. I am basically a murderer. I hooked my wife on these cigarettes and they killed her. We are all fucking murderers. We know quite well what we are doing. I quit! Actually I don’t just quit, I will be back fighting against this company. I will fight until the day I die to make


LaBella 5 cigarettes illegal.” Chuck collected his things and left the building but he knew one day he would be back but on the other side of the spectrum. Corbin woke up and when he walked downstairs he saw his father sitting there and the cigarettes were gone. Corbin said, “Dad I can explain…” Chuck said, “Son it is my fault. I failed you and your mother by working for that company. I beg you to stay away from these. I am going to dedicate my life to fighting that damn company for all the things they do. I need to right the wrongs Corbin and I love you.” “I love you too Dad and I promise I will stay away from them and I will try to run a campaign against cigarettes at school! We can take those bastards down together!”

THE END.


LaBella 6 Works Cited Carlson, M., & Luhrs, C. (n.d.). The Ethics of Tobacco Marketing . . Retrieved April 30, 2014, from http://www.ethicapublishing.com/confronting/5CH9.pd Ling, P., & Glantz, S. (n.d.). Why and How the Tobacco Industry Sells Cigarettes to Young Adults: Evidence From Industry Documents. . Retrieved April 30, 2014, from

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1447481/

Replacement" Customers. (n.d.). . Retrieved April 30, 2014, from http://www.tobaccofreeca.com/smoking-problem/tobaccoindustry/targeting/youth/ Seeing Tobacco Ads Increases Teens' Risk of Starting to Smoke. (n.d.). The Partnership at Drugfreeorg. Retrieved April 30, 2014, from https://www.drugfree.org/join-together/marketing-and-media/seeing-tobacco-adsincreases-teens-risk-of-starting-to-smoke Tobacco Advertising & Youth The Essential Facts. (n.d.). . Retrieved April 30, 2014, from

http://global.tobaccofreekids.org/files/pdfs/en/APS_youth_facts_en.pdf

TOBACCO COMPANY MARKETING TO AFRICAN AMERICANS . (n.d.). . Retrieved April 30, 2014, from https://www.tobaccofreekids.org/research/factsheets/pdf/0208.pdf


capstone project labella