State Express 555

There is a delicious brand of English cigarette here in Vietnam called 555. They come in a yellow box and I smoked them for a few months until I stopped about 3 months ago. For many years I’ve had an ongoing affair with cigarettes and the hanging guilt,  late-night tirades and me picking up my belongings up off the front lawn may never end.

Lately as I walk past the many cigarette stands in Saigon I’ve noticed that 555’s now come in a badass black and silver box, as if Darth Vader were in a biker gang going to an Oakland Raiders game to smoke a bunch of cigarettes.

I really want to try these fascinatingly new cigarettes. I ‘m one of those susceptible sheep that once I see some tired product wrapped in new clothes I’m in love all over again.  I think being in a mysterious black box will make these 555’s quite tastier and give me the much needed nicotine and minerals my body needs. Much more than that sissy yellow box ever could.

I have yet to ask for a pack. For all I know the black box could mean “Super-extra-ultra-light cigarettes that increase estrogen levels”  but I’m pretty sure it means “You better buy a bottle of whiskey and a big-ass stick because if you smoke these you’re going to need them both to beat the women off you.”

Instead, what I’ve done is take the money I would be spending on cigarettes (here in Vietnam a pack of 555’s go for about a dollar) and buy vintage cigarette art instead. I’ve saved about $150 so far and once I get home Marlboros will cost about 4 bucks and that’s $120 a month for crazy stuff like this.

Beats chemo.


5 responses to “State Express 555

  1. Did you know that the beer business has been exploiting this exact same weakness for decades?

    I worked with a guy from a BIG comercial brewery that revieled they only made a few different beers. Wort streams as known in the biz. but sold something crazy like 27 different brands. Packeging and marketing is KING!!! Always trying to invoke and exploit something emotional in the customer/consumer, and making a sale. Hopefully a return customer by invoking a reliable repaetable emotional response from the consumer, like reminding them of vacation. IE hawaii beer. “Man, nothing taste better than that beer I had in Hawaii while on my honeymoon. Wow, I can get that in six packs here at home?!?!?!

    Just remember that our consumption is someone elses livley hood. Sometimes it’s big guys like GM, other times it’s the little guy like the corner homebrew supply shop. They all need to manipulate us into buying thier stuff. One way or another.

  2. angel:

    Happy Holidaze. I’ve always been totally fascinated with marketing and how to get people to do stuff they don’t realize they’re doing all the while making a few bucks. I know it’s borderline immoral but if both parties are happy, it’s hard not to justify it. It’s all in the mind, which by the way, is a terrible thing to waste. So drink up. And thanks for your inside track on booze marketing.

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