A new cigarette lounge is lighting up in Wicker Park, just as the city snuffs out smoking in many bars and restaurants.
The Marshall McGearty Tobacco Lounge, 1553 N. Milwaukee, held its lung-pumping grand opening party last Thursday. Billed as the nation's first cigarette lounge, it is built to attract smokers who are being slowly forced out of bars and restaurants as Chicago's phased-in ban goes into effect this month. The lounge is exempt from the smoking ban since the majority of sales come from tobacco products, though the lounge also offers cocktails, coffee and cheese plates.
R.J. Reynolds Returns to Killing People With Smoking Lounge
Clinging for it its own life at the expense of the lives of others whom it feels should perceive smoking as a glamorous activity rather than the killer it is, R.J. Reynolds in launching a fancy new brand of cigarettes called Marshall McGearty and supporting the brand with a hipster lounge in Chicago. As if completely oblivious to the past 20 years worth of research highlighting the killing qualities of cancer sticks, Larry McGearty, CD at RJR agency Quaker City Mercantile (formerly known as Gyro Worldwide) told Ad Age, "No one has done this before. Nobody has tried to create romance in the industry and take it to the next level." McGearty and the other pompous soul who's name is on the brand, RJR stench guru Jerry Marshal cooked up the idea several years ago realizing many other categories of social vices had high end brands that were successful and figured why should cigarettes be left out of that game.
The image of cigarette smokers has fallen a long way from the days of Bogie, Bacall and the smoking jacket. In many cities they've been tossed out of offices and bars and can be seen huddling in doorways on cold days, nicotine-stained masses bumming lights, taking drags and tossing their butts into the street.
Ben Franklin turned 300 a few days ago, and as part of the festivities in his City of Brotherly Love the The Philadelphia Inquirer asked Quaker City Mercantile, among other local agencies, to show how the great man would promote himself if he were alive today. Quaker City Mercantile (formerly known as Gyro Worldwide) CEO Steven Grasse is a Philadelphia history buff - he lives in a house built in the 1750s on the second oldest residential street in America, he points out - so he's familiar with Franklin's life, including the fact that the inventor of the lightning rod had quite a way with the ladies. "Ben Franklin was the original Maxim Man, so we thought we'd have fun with that," says Grasse. The result is a faux Franklin Magazine cover, 5,000 of which have been wildposted all over town "so the tourists can learn the truth about our most beloved founding father," says Grasse. See the PDF for a few street views of the posters, sometimes complementing great pre-existing graffiti. The photographer on this project chooses to remain anonymous, possibly for patriotic reasons.
Quaker City Mercantile (formerly known as Gyro Worldwide) - Philadelphia
Fashionable golf shoes? The way shoemaker Ecco sees it, it's no oxymoron. The Danish high-end brand has introduced a line of footwear with innovative styling geared toward the younger, non-traditional golfer. New ads promoting the shoes--created by Quaker City Mercantile (formerly known as Gyro Worldwide) in Philadelphia and photographed by Michael Dwornik--take a similarly unconventional approach.
The Inquirer asked three Philadelphia ad agencies to show how they would bring Ben Franklin into the 21st century.
Even in his own time, Ben Franklin was a master of spin. Biographer Walter Isaacson called him America's "first great publicist."
How would he fare in today's ultra-image-conscious world? We asked three Philadelphia advertising teams to give Ben's outsize personality a modern makeover and bring him into the 21st century.
Quaker City Mercantile, which prides itself on attracting young customers, focused on Franklin's bad-boy side. "I really think he would have been having more fun than people are saying," Quaker City Mercantile (formerly known as Gyro Worldwide) chief executive officer Steven Grasses said of Franklin. "He was a rock star."