It has been a while since I had a nice rant and after a couple of viewer requests I figured it would only be right to sit down and think of a new rant for you all. The writers block hit, so I had to light a cigar and drink some whiskey – just to to collect my thoughts of course, but that just was not enough – so I lit another cigar and started surfing the web for something to spark this latest rant. I came across new blogs and the debates on the legitimacy of bloggers, companies pushing new cigars, press release on top of press release on top of press release, ‘secret insider news’ and even a few forum postings in March speculating for IPCPR 2012 but not a damn thing ‘got under my skin’.
It all came to me when I started reading through different manufacturer, brand owners and marketing ads who kept reporting on this company X ‘cigar lifestyle’ and my blood began to run a little warmer. What the hell is this ‘lifestyle’ they kept trying to advertise? Beautiful women, exotic locations, expensive cars, private jets, alcohol on every table and of course, a slightly out of focus cigar being held by an actor or model – yet ‘that cigar’ is what ties your lifestyle together? Is that what these companies are trying to say is a cigar lifestyle? Sorry assholes – having a large bank account and just ‘happening to buy cigars’ is not considered a cigar lifestyle – and if it is, as much as I like money, I don’t ever want that lifestyle. Just because the people in your marketing departments don’t have any new ideas, don’t go with the ‘encompass everything luxury’ cop out maneuver. Please.
I know what the companies are going for – I understand the marketing aspect and have a concept of the association between cigars and these ‘luxury items’, the broad comparison has not been lost but at the same time this continual reference of ‘let me show you what the brand X lifestyle is all about’ is getting old … quick. Zino, Padron, Swag, Davidoff, Room 101, Montecristo, CAO, Hammer and Sickle, Plasencia, Rocky Patel, Cohiba ( Cuban and General Cigars ), Cuban Crafters, Cigar Aficionado, Smoke Magazine, Lit Magazine, Cigar Stub, as well as many others are all guilty of this on top of magazines such as ‘Southern Cigar Lifestyle’ which focuses on NASCAR, golf, sports and beer. The list goes on and on but I’ll stop there. Even advertising to certain big smokes or local B&M events as the ‘essence of the cigar lifestyle’ have become common place. While the broad comments and association seems to have been accepted by the masses, the over use of the term ( aside from getting as annoying to hear as the Friends theme song ) seems to be drowned out by the lack of definition of what the hell they even mean.
Perhaps I am digging too deep into this but there seems to be a severe lack of definition with a random assortment of ‘well they like cigars, what else do they like’ or even what is ‘cool’ and attempting to make a marriage out of the two. If I am looking through a magazine and see a new Ferrari, I’m sorry but my first association is not with cigars – and if I see someone smoking a cigar my first thought is not ‘oh wow, they must be rich and I want to be like them’. I am far from rich as are many of the readers of this site and it would not be a stretch to say that many of us have a better selection of cigars in our humidors than some of the ‘elite’ who may be using a cigar as an extension of their status or simply as an accessory.
Bitching about a problem without a solution is as useless as trying to piss into the wind so here are my thoughts – to be quite blunt this so called ‘cigar lifestyle’ is exactly what the short two word phrase is defined as – your day to day operations that incorporates premium hand rolled tobacco. Period. Thats it. There is nothing about exotic this or exclusive that – sure there may be a select few who have the ability to enjoy a cigar while rubbing carnauba on their new Bugatti while listening to CAT’s MBX speakers but most of us peasants have to save for that special box of cigars we heard about two months ago. To me, that is the magic of the leaf and the joys of the ‘cigar lifestyle’.
Some of you might be asking – alright asshole – you have talked all this shit about associating cigars with luxury items, beautiful women and exotic locations, what do you think the ‘cigar lifestyle’ is? Personally, I think the term ‘cigar lifestyle’ is a bunch of bullshit. To me, the ‘cigar lifestyle’ is best personified by the tobacco families, by the farmers, the rollers and especially the brothers and sisters of the leaf – the people who truly ‘live the cigar lifestyle’. Go to a tobacconist who lives this way and ask them for a good cigar — I guarantee they will respond with questions of what YOU consider a good cigar to be rather than hit you with the latest company that has a big two page spread in CA claiming that cigar X with the secret new wrapper will make your dick harder than the competitor. The people who are putting in the blood, tears and research yet after all that – still enjoy the cigar, its ‘lifestyle’ and the people associated. You don’t have to be a grower or manufacturer, but being able to enjoy the cigar for what it is, rather than what some marketing director thinks it is – to me THAT is the lifestyle of a cigar smoker.
I consider myself a person who enjoys cigars, hell – maybe even borderline obsessed with cigars – the comradery of the Brothers and Sisters of the leaf and the friends and connections you can make with them are beyond words, but trying to express the idea that if you smoke my cigar, you will become rich and powerful is a crock of shit. As I said before, I’m not ignorant to the fact that marketing attempts to associate the product with things that promote sales and well – sex, cars, money and alcohol are very strong motivators – there is no denying that but the same ideas are applied to ads for beer, cigarette, sports, clothes and even sunglasses. Cigars are an extremely niche market and if you can pull a car guy into smoking a cigar a few times a month more power to you but at the same time, shoot for a little originality – that’s all I ask.
My request to ‘the powers that be’ – I am not going to tell you how to market your product, and for a lot of those companies involved it has been a very lucrative decision to take the easy way out so I’m pretty sure my words will fall on deaf ears but at the same time, when did a natural product with such rich history, calming and bonding properties turn into an item that secludes one into something that is worried about none of those benefits but rather reinforce the stereotypical ‘outward appearance’ others may have on the smoker and a message that is as washed out as beer commercials? I wish the advertising would turn around and promote the factual aspects – bonding, learning, calming, refining your palate, experiencing something ‘new’ or simply a way to decompress from the day. I know these are not easy ideas to put into an ad – but those ads do exist and I know the talented marketing individuals within these organizations can put an emphasis back on the product at hand.
What do you think the ‘Cigar Lifestyle’ is all about? Is it about luxury and being able to have the ‘finer things in life’ and I’m just bitching for no reason or do you also think the marketing divisions of these companies need to reevaluate their strategy? Are these ads driving you to purchase brand X over brand Z? Perhaps I have gotten into the community and truly seen what they have to offer or maybe I’m just a bitter young kid who doesn’t have a private jet at 27 and cannot make the connection between the two. Either way, leave a comment and let me know your thoughts.
Till next time,
The Nut Himself