The Best Creative Thinkers Operating Inside and Outside Agency Lines
Steven Grasse, something of an advertising outsider from the very beginning of his career, was born, appropriately enough, in Souderton, Pa., a small Mennonite farming community outside Philadelphia. His formative ad background was off the beaten path; during his college years at Syracuse University, Grasse traveled the world, doing internships at Bozell in Bangkok, Ogilvy+Mather in Hong Kong and TBWA in London before graduating to a copywriter's job at Saatchi+Saatchi in Auckla, New Zealand.
Quaker City Mercantile (formerly known as Gyro Worldwide) has collaborated with R.J. Reynolds on a premium cigarette brand, Marshall McGearty Tobacco Artisans, built around what aims to be an upscale smoker's paradise in Chicago, the Marshall McGearty Tobacco Lounge - which, ironically, opened last week at roughly the same time the Windy City's smoking ban went into effect. But the lounge, being primarily a tobacco retail store, is exempt from the ban, at least for the moment, even though it also sells booze, cheese and coffee.
Given that we've undergone a prolonged eviction from nearly every space surrounded by four walls and a ceiling for years, most of us smokers weren't in the least surprised to see the foot that would kick our collective butts out the door approaching last week. Yes, for now it's only those places we don't care quite so much about. Restaurants are something to mourn, but sports stadiums, "common areas" of our apartment buildings, and, well, anything that's not a bar, is - eh, whatever.
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.