Note: This entry (except certain graphics and minor editing) was originally posted Apr 26, 2013 at 1HeckOfAGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric. The photo of “Leonard Cohen enjoying his first (and last) cigarette on the occasion of his 80th birthday.” which appeared on May 7, 2015 in the Can’t Forget album booklet, is itself the punch line to the Canadian singer-songwriter’s “Start Smoking Again At 80″ stage routine (see From Elevator Chit-Chat To Stage Banter: The Evolution Of Leonard Cohen’s “Start Smoking Again At 80” Shtick). Historical information about Leonard’s tobacco use is available at Leonard Cohen & Tobacco: From The Smokey Life To Anti-smoking Ad Soundtrack.
The Key Correlation: DrHGuy Postings & Leonard Cohen Earnings
As ongoing readers know, DrHGuy has undertaken numerous projects to revise and enhance Leonard Cohen’s lyrics, concerts, ad campaigns, and merchandise (e.g., the development of the Leonard Cohen Bobble Head Doll and a marketing program for Indifference: Leonard Cohen’s Cologne Concept), all with the goal of increasing profits.
The success of these efforts has been reflected in the exponential growth of Leonard’s wealth since 2006, at which time he was in financial free fall, his savings having been wiped out by embezzlement. 2006 was also when DrHGuy began publishing posts about the Canadian singer-songwriter. Since then, Mr Cohen’s net worth has grown to umpteen zillion gazillion bucks (Canadian).
Do the math. How much clearer could the connection be?
The fiscal consequences of this proposal, Monetizing Leonard Cohen’s Resumption Of Smoking At 80 Soliloquy, however, far surpass the bounty resulting from its predecessors.
From Stage Schtick To Cash
In an April 2, 2013 post, DrHGuy outlined the evolution of Leonard Cohen’s I’m going to start smoking again at 80 shtick from his claim to have smoked “millions of cigarettes” through his discontinuation of smoking in 2003, to his incorporation of his plan to start smoking again at age 80 as part of his stage routine.
The following rendition and rough transcript of the I’m going to start smoking again at 80 monologue is from the introduction to Anyhow at the March 30, 2013 Leonard Cohen Louisville concert. It differs in details but not in substance from the same story at other recent shows:
It is worth noting that the saga includes imagery (“the little Parthenon / of an unopened pack of cigarettes”) from Cohen’s poem, “The Cigarette Issue,”1 and segues neatly into “Anyhow.”
Leonard Cohen – Anyhow
Louisville: March 30, 2013
Video by Wirebirds (Henry Tengelsen)
This is the moment when I take my first cigarette
I’ll have waited until I’ll be 80 and I’m really looking forward to this moment. It’ll be part of the show. A young nurse in a white uniform, white lisle stockings, and she’ll be carrying a pack of cigarettes on a silver tray. She’ll walk across the stage – I hope there won’t be any untoward catcalls. The pack will be opened. It will be gleaming, like those pillars of the Parthenon – a beautiful Parthenon of Tobacco. I’ll take one of the cigarettes out of the pack and tap it on my wrist like I learned to do in those movies. She’ll light me up, I’ll take my first [inhales deeply] yeah, it’s gonna be so good. Before she leaves, I’ll say “Nurse, before you go would you mind tapping out a few of those bubbles in my i.v.?”
I’ll step back into my old self. I’ll begin to hear the strains of the music of the most beautiful jazz orchestra in the world. My thoughts will settle, they’ll smooth out. I’ll be able to develop some kind of charitable take on my shabby life. I’ll be thinking of the past.
The 2014 Leonard Cohen Where There’s Smoke Tour
Naturally, DrHGuy was compelled to do whatever possible to assure the Canadian singer-songwriter’s Tour featuring his resumption of smoking was successful. Consequently, 1HeckOfAGuy.com published a proposal for a 2014 Leonard Cohen Where There’s Smoke Tour, discussing the form such a tour might take and offering tactics. For example,
Given the applause Leonard Cohen receives for his elementary one hand Tower Of Song keyboard solo, propelling a few smoke rings at the audience would guarantee a standing ovation.
The Concept: Leonard Cohen’s Resumption Of Smoking At 80 As Product Placement Opportunity
We now reveal the greatest product placement ploy of all time.
Consider the following:
- Tobacco, which has historically demonstrated a willingness to spend huge amount of money on advertising,2 labors under highly regulated marketing. Some or all forms of tobacco advertising are banned in many countries. In addition to governmental controls, many corporations and trade groups (e.g., Universal Pictures, the Motion Picture Association of America, Google, Microsoft, etc) severely restrict tobacco ads. Tobacco companies have been particularly excoriated for campaigns directed toward youngsters and non-smokers.
- Product placement can be highly profitable. Aston Martin, for example, paid $50 million for its cars to appear in James Bond films.3 Of course, classic product placements for tobacco in movies and on TV are, as noted above, limited.
- Celebrity endorsements have long been a successful advertising strategy. Even more effective, however, are celebrity-specific promotions. The classic example of this sort took place in 1968 when Joe Namath shaved off his Fu Manchu mustache with a Schick electric razor.
So, how much might it be worth to a tobacco company to have the 80 year old poet-novelist-singer-songwriter-icon light up its brand on stage sometime after Sept 21, 2014?
But wait – there’s more.
Leonard Cohen has never been tethered to a single cigarette brand. A quick survey of his interviews reveals he has smoked at least seven different tobacco products:
Yep, it should be a good old fashioned bidding war between the various cigarette manufacturers.
And, imagine using Leonard Cohen’s imagery for your cigarette promotion:
- The little Parthenon / of an unopened pack of cigarettes
- A young nurse in a white uniform, white lisle stockings
- A pack of cigarettes on a silver tray
- [After the first inhalation] I’ll step back into my old self. I’ll begin to hear the strains of the music of the most beautiful jazz orchestra in the world. My thoughts will settle, they’ll smooth out. I’ll be able to develop some kind of charitable take on my shabby life. I’ll be thinking of the past.
Added revenues would derive from the sale of corncob pipes11 as well as accessories such as cigarette holders, and lighters.
What else is there to say, other than a sip of wine, a cigarette and then it’s time to go …
Update: The same day this entry was posted, Leonard Cohen revealed the brand of the cigarette he’ll be smoking: Sponsor Found For Leonard Cohen’s Resumption Of Smoking At Age 80.
Credit Due Department: Thanks to Mel Joss, who contributed the photos of her cigarette lighter bearing the logo from The Future album.
I am republishing selected posts from my former Leonard Cohen site, Cohencentric, here on AllanShowalter.com (these posts can be found at Leonard Cohen). This entry was originally posted April 26, 2013 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric.
- “The Cigarette Issue” by Leonard Cohen from The Book of Longing, published in 2006:
But what is exactly the same
is the promise, the beauty
and the salvation
the little Parthenon
of an unopened pack of cigarettes
and Mumbai, like the Athens
of forty years ago
is a city to smoke in [↩]
- E.g., the FTC calculates that tobacco spent $15.12 billion on advertising in 2003 [↩]
- Sold on film: product placement deals by Jess Brown. AOL Money & Finance: Nov 29, 2012. [↩]
- Brother of Mercy by Mikal Gilmore, Spin (US), March 2002) [↩]
- I never discuss my mistresses or my tailors, Nick Paton Walsh, The Observer, 13 October 2001 [↩]
- Leonard Cohen Gave Me 200 Franc by Martin Oestergaard Euroman, Denmark September 2001 [↩]
- Look Who’s Back at 67: Gentle Leonard Cohen By Frank DiGiacomo New York Observer 10/15/01 [↩]
- Leonard Looks Back On The Past by Kari Hesthamar, Los Angeles, 2005 [↩]
- Conversations from a Room by Tom Chaffin. Canadian Forum: August/September 1983. [↩]
- Ladies and Gentlemen… Mr. Leonard Cohen. National Film Board of Canada documentary (1965) [↩]
- Poet Writer Singer Lover Cohen by Paul Grescoe. Canadian Magazine: February 10, 1968. [↩]