For close to a month ads have been running on KMOX. A man and a woman apparently sitting in a bar are concerned that people are smoking. After the man states that he thought there was a smoking ban, the woman explains that there are loopholes in the law. He states that it’s not fair or healthy. The narrator goes on to tell listeners to go to http://smokefreestl.org to find information on helping close the loopholes.
It’s a typical ad that is meant to drive users to the website. The ad is designed to appeal to listeners to take action. What I find baffling is if a listener actually went to the website they would find little information. The website as of 10/26/2011 has not been updated since July. Even then most recent updates have been links to newspaper articles. Anyone going to the site wouldn’t find any useable information.
The website is that of the nearly defunct Smoke-Free St Louis Organization. They were very active in 2009 helping to pass the St Louis City smoking ban. About two weeks before the Board of Alderman voted on the ban SFSTL lost its funding. I noted then that once nobody was paid to show at the aldermanic meeting all participation stopped. Over the next two years there have been only a couple of postings to the site.
When you look at the cost to write, pay voice actors and produce the ad how they could make such as simple mistake. Even worse, the ad ran many times daily for a month and no one ever thought to correct it. I can only guess to how much was spent on the campaign. It had to be tens of thousands if not hundreds of thousands. Can you imagine a private company spending its advertising budget to promote a product that didn’t exist!
I have mixed feelings on this latest use of stimulus funds. As someone who opposes smoking bans, I’m happy they are not using taxpayer money in an efficient way to reduce our freedom. As a taxpayer it really upsets me that I along with all Americans have to pay this money back.