Shards O’ Glass’ Freeze Pops Explained

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 9 out of 10 smokers in the U.S. have their first smoke at the age of 18. The statistics are dreadful – it’s an indictment to the prevalence of tobacco addiction in the American society. In fact, it’s a longstanding global concern: youth’s exposure and access to tobacco, and consequently, descend into addiction.

With similar concerns in place, two advertising agencies, Arnold Worldwide and Crispin Porter & Bogusky, started the ‘Anti-Smoking Truth Campaigns’ in association with the American Legacy Foundation. One of their most famous initiatives of this campaign was the advert on “Shard O’ Glass freeze pops.”

Pure Taboo – The Ultimate Inspiration?

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Shard O’ Glass

The 30-seconder commercial takes us into a factory that is manufacturing freeze pops with pieces of glasses all over it

AdAge defined “Shard O’ Glass” as ‘a frontal assault, not on smokers but lies about smoking.’ Released in 2004, “Shard O’ Glass” is a hilariously sarcastic take on the hazardous effects of smoking and the paradoxical message communicated by the ad commercials. Most ad commercials directed people to smoke – this is in spite of the knowledge that smoking is harmful. “Shard O’ Glass” was an endeavor to shatter the deceit and communicate the right message in the wake of rising tobacco addiction.

The 30-seconder commercial takes us into a factory that is manufacturing freeze pops with pieces of glasses all over it. A person narrates: “We now agree that there is no such thing as a safe glass freeze pop. The only proven way to reduce health risk from our glass pops is to not eat them.” The commercial ends with a message flashing on screen – “What if all companies sold products like tobacco.”

The ad brilliantly mocks the travesty of tobacco commercials, perpetuating awareness around anti-smoking. The advert even directs the consumers to the website to know more. The call-to-action directs the viewers to a website containing all the information and initiatives of ‘Truth Anti-Smoking Campaigns.’

Reception Of The Ad

Albeit the ad was well received, it also stirred a lot of debate. Many people conjectured that the freeze pops with glass pieces were real. However, according to Arnold, whose brainchild was the ad, the freeze pops was a fictitious product – an indirect reference to cigarettes. The ad is one of the most successful ads, which has been broadcasted multiple times over the years.


And It’s Still Relevant

Unfortunately, the ad continues to be equally relevant even today. Cigarette consumption amongst youth and adolescents is a matter of immense concern. Although the awareness has increased but the access still remains high.