Your name up in smoke

I’m not entirely sure why I bother.

Every time I send a ‘big shout out’ to readers I get zippety-zero response. I mean, I know you’re out there… you email me about other things and I know you read the magazine so… tap tap — hello, McFly?

For what it’s worth, I’d like to invite you all to tell me about how the smoking regulations have affected your business. I’m interested in anything cool you’ve built (or not been allowed to build) and what your working philosophy has been to the changes.

Why? Next issue we’ll be publishing a beast of an article about all things alfresco. It will be the mother of all features, profiling all manner of venues that have embraced the consequences of the ‘don’t you dare smoke inside’ legislation. We’ve already amassed quite a portfolio of nifty outdoor locations but if you’ve not heard from me or someone claiming to represent my magazine, then for heaven’s sakes reach out — shoot me an email. I don’t need much: just a photo and a few words.

Don’t make me beg.

While I’m on the subject, what is it with Big Tobacco? Why haven’t they been courting me with truckloads of largesse?! Here I am, boss of an influential magazine speaking to some of its largest clients and I’ve heard neither hide nor hair. Well, all that’s about to change as I have drafted a proposal they can’t possibly refuse.

Word has it that Big Tobacco is bank rolling many a significant outdoor terrace prior to the July 1 laws. And why not? If I was peddling fags I’d at least want my customers to have somewhere to smoke them. It’s Marketing 101.

Probably falling into the Marketing 202 module is the more unusual advertising step of sponsoring key ‘follow me’ individuals to rap rhapsodical about green fizzy alcohol or mobile phones to anyone within earshot. The idea here is that if some (sponsored) goddess in a crop-top approaches you in a bar you’ll gladly listen to any manner of claptrap that comes from her green-tinged lips just to spend a fleeting moment with her… pathetic really.

This got me thinking. I enjoy the odd cigar and I’m fearsomely influential. As regards my smoking habit, I’m not some latter day Winston — I don’t have the time or cash to be too liberal or snobbish with my cigar enjoyment. That said, I really do savour my time sucking on a half corona. But — and here’s the rub — I only get the chance to smoke when I’m heading out on the town. So, Big Tobacco, here’s my proposal: I’ll undertake to wear full British American Tobacco (or similar) sponsorship regalia in exchange for the funding of my habit… I mean, ‘pastime’. I had in mind that if I could be fitted out in the full leathers of a Moto GP Marlboro Man (maybe without the helmet or scary balaclava) I can attend venue launches and trade shows without having to worry if my suit needs dry cleaning.

It could hardly be more practical really, and everyone gets what they want.

If I have to stoop to wearing a giant camel suit, I’d be a little less rapt, but still willing to talk.

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