Is there anything worse than being swiped left on Tinder? Truth — the anti-tobacco PSA people behind those more morbid "body bags" ads in the early aughts — is betting the answer is no. In their new public service music video "Left Swipe Dat," featuring YouTube stars Grace Helbig, Anna Akana, AlphaCat, and Epic Meal Time; Viners like King Bach; and actual pop stars Fifth Harmony and Becky G, they encourage viewers to "left swipe" in a Tinder-like dating app when a potential match appears holding a cigarette.
For any olds reading this post, on the popular
dating hookup app Tinder, left-swiping means that you're banishing a potential match from your life, never to be seen or heard from again. The poor unfortunate soul never has a chance to meet you, thanks to your expert dexterity.
The video is well-shot and the marketing is on point for ~teenz~, but the message is a little mixed. Truth used to specialize in the fear-factor, i.e., cigarettes will kill you. But here we see a fluffier, more narcissistic truth: If we see you smoking in your selfie, we won't think you're hot — or at least Grace Helbig won't, which means no one else should, either.
And who would want to be rejected by anyone on the Billboard HOT 100? I mean, you at least had a chance with them beforehand, right?
Considering what a young demographic this video is targeting (most huge YouTubers have tween audiences), it seems a little weird that Tinder, the official app of lonely twenty-somethings looking to get-it-in, is the keystone of the concept. Most of the people I know who have Tinder are kind of beyond the fear of someone disliking their smoking habit. They've already committed to being alone for the rest of their lives.
This also brings up another issue with the video: It's very simple to shape your online image. The well-paid entertainers in this video have teams to make them appear younger and fresher and safer and more likable on the internet. Hell, how they look in this video was up to a marketing company. So to assume someone is wholly represented by an unlit cigarette in a photo seems judgey at best. Plus, can't people just choose different, cigarette-less pictures for their dating profiles? Thereby undermining the entire goal of this campaign? It's incredibly easy to hide your very real flaws in cyberspace.
Will the ad be effective? According to the CDC, anti-smoking ads have great influence and do decrease the likelihood of young kids trying tobacco. The ad will definitely have immense reach — since the featured influencers have millions of dedicated subscribers. Maybe that's what's most important.
Images via thetruth.com, youtube
Akilah Hughes is a comedian, YouTuber, and staff writer and producer for Fusion's culture section. You can almost always find her waxing poetic about memes and using too many emojis. 🍕