Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Princeton Times

July 2, 2009

Barn turns anti-tobacco billboards

LINDSIDE — If you can see the broad side of a Monroe County barn, you’ll surely spot local anti-tobacco advocates’ latest marketing campaign.

The Lindside barn, which is the collaboration between Community Connections, the Monroe & Summers Tobacco Prevention Coalition, the Southern Coalfields Tobacco Prevention Coalition and a host of other organizations, now declares, “Save Face: Stop Spit Tobacco.” It’s a slogan that activists believe gets straight to the point in describing just how harmful tobacco products are to the average user, and they hope the country creation will prove an effective deterrent a population of young people who tend to both smoke and chew.

The idea actually arose with Community Connections’ Executive Director Greg Puckett and his interest in the historical barns that once served as primary advertising sites for Mail Pouch Tobacco.

While Puckett is a strong advocate for good health and tobacco-free lifestyles, the history of the Mail Pouch advertising movement has motivated him to create a personal photo collection of more than 100 of these barns that are located within West Virginia.

“Sometimes you have to look at where you have been to know where you are going. History has a funny way of repeating itself in new and interesting ways,” he said. “As a fan of history, this has really been one of the coolest things. Whoever the person was that came up with the idea of painting the message on barns was an advertising genius, and they may not have even known it.”

Puckett, also the director of West Virginia Community Anti-Drug Coalition of America, explained that marketing theory during a Friday celebration to dedicate the tobacco-free barn.

“Mail Pouch Barns were created by the Bloch Brothers Tobacco Company, from Wheeling, to advertise Mail Pouch Tobacco nearly 100 years ago. The idea of painting barns in rural areas to market their products through the permission of local farmers revolutionized modern advertising and still influences the way we market products to this day.”

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