At Bonfire Effect, our approach to marketing (and to life) is to be intentional, make it matter, and B ON FIRE. And recently, some social chatter among our inner mix of marketers has reminded us of just how significant these values are and why we try to honor them both in our work and in our daily lives.

Alex Bogusky calls “bull s**t” on JUUL’s corporate claim

Last week, Alex Bogusky (Co-founder and Chief Creative Engineer at the Boulder agency Crispin Porter + Bogusky) posted the first of two LinkedIn video commentaries (aka “rants”) on the shady marketing practices of JUUL. (Check ‘em out down below.)

As a popular brand of vaping products, JUUL claims to be “a satisfying alternative to cigarettes” for smokers looking to quit. But as Bogusky shrewdly points out, JUUL’s marketing message and the channels they use to propagate it do a lot better job building a new generation of addicts than helping current smokers kick the habit.  

While we at Bonfire are inclined to agree with Bogusky’s stance on the JUUL agenda, his analysis (and the conversation it has spurred) does beg a few questions… Where do we draw the line as marketers on promoting products that we do (or do not) believe in? What makes one product inherently worse or better than another? The questions and commentaries could go on forever, so we’ll keep this simple.

When it comes to responsible marketing, our oh-so-humble opinion over at Bonfire Effect comes down to this: get real. Have the “courage to be candid” (as Rob Farinella so wisely commented over here) instead of spinning stuff that might sound good but is really nonsense at its core. In fact, we might have a little more respect for JUUL if they a) owned up to their true mission of getting more people to vape (not fewer people to smoke) or b) better aligned their marketing strategies to their self-proclaimed altruistic goal.

So, a solid lesson for all of us to mull over: Say how it is. Stand behind your purpose. And just. Get. Real.

Part 1

Part 2

What do you think of Bogusky’s stance on JUUL’s hidden agenda? And where do you draw the line when choosing products to promote?