This article originally appeared on VICE UK.
If there's one person I can't imagine advertising the digital stick of non-committal that is the e-cigarette, it's Vinnie Jones. But then again, what do I know? I'm no Don Draper, no Peggy Olson. An e-cig ad campaign by yours truly would probably just consist of a guy taking a bang on one and going, "Yeah, alright, I s'pose. Bit like a fag, but not. A bit different. Don't have to light it, plus it might help you look vaguely interesting to one of the eight people in Britain who haven't already asked to have a go on one in a nightclub smoking area."
As it turns out, Jones—who used to smoke but gave up—is going to be the first celebrity to front a televised e-cig campaign in the UK. More specifically, the adverts for Kik e-cigs, which are set to air between primetime ITV shows like Emmerdale and Corrie and that.
While Vinnie won't actually be smoking a computer in the ad, he will be on hand to tell you about the 80 different flavors Kik has to offer, with chief executive of the company Sandy Chadha stating that: "Vinnie Jones was a natural choice for us to sign up. He is a Hollywood A-lister and well known among our target audience."
That target audience is where it gets interesting. What might this human look like? A dedicated vaper, no doubt—presumably someone who owns at least three vape-specific slogan T-shirts ("About to Go Vape-Shit," "Bro, Do You Even Vape?" "Keep Calm and Carry On Vaping")—clicking download on a torrent of Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, because vapers don't buy DVDs. It's 2015, mate: Their movies are in file form, their smoke is produced with the help of electricity and their food is blended into mush in a NutriBullet.
Next question: Is Mr. Jones really the right person to promote something that's supposed to be the healthier option? More often than not, the characters he plays are there specifically to harm people's health, by shooting them in the stomach, or setting fire to them, or crushing their heads in car doors. The man is anti-health. He's the kind of person who, if he saw you vaping in a pub, would come over, put his hands flat on the table, get in your face and shout, "Don't you know there's a smoking ban, you cunt? You want this place to lose it's license, do ya? Get outside and smoke a Silk Cut Purple like a real man."
Perhaps I'm wrong, though. Perhaps what Kik are really doing is appealing to the hardman demographic, trying to shake the image of vapers being exclusively pick-up artists or metalhead Warcraft fans who are too racist to go to a shisha bar. Perhaps they're trying to convert that other breed of racist: the hooligan.
Picture it: an army of bald blokes strutting through a tunnel on their way to a stadium. Bricks and bottles in hand, the flashing blue lights of 100 e-cigs creating a terrifying firefly effect in the murky underpass. And, in that moment, Kik get what they've always wanted: Vaping is finally cool.
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