Anti-smoking ads have historically featured unpleasant stories and graphic images of developing tumors, losing your teeth, and even losing your larynx. In the age of the Internet, however, Truth Initiative — a non-profit organization that aims to end smoking for good — recognized it might be time to leave those negative tactics in the past.
What's not a thing of the past are cute cat videos, so Truth Initiative created an anti-smoking ad comprised entirely of cat GIFs. It makes for a poignant message: A cat owner who smokes can increase a cat's chance of getting cancer (yes, pets can get cancer). And, Truth Initiative surmises, because cancer kills, that means there's a possibility of living in a world without cat videos.
Sherry Emery, MBA, PhD, director of the Health Media Collaboratory at University of Illinois at Chicago, praised the ad, telling NPR that "sometimes people don't care enough about themselves," but they do care about their pets. John Pierce, PhD, professor of cancer research at University of California, San Diego, said the use of cats in an anti-smoking video was "well-overdue," particularly because using animals in advertising is nothing new.
And for good reason, apparently. The Twitterverse has been vocal about the #CATmageddon ad:
Instagrammers have also made their own #CATmageddon posts in support of the cause:
So if you needed one more reason to quit smoking, here it is: Secondhand smoke affects everyone, including your favorite little fluffy friend. Don't give your pet cancer. And please don't take away our cat videos.