Fact Check

Smoking Room Ceiling Mural

Photographs show shopping bags adorned with clever artwork.

Published Sep 29, 2006

Claim:   Photograph shows a ceiling mural in a designated employee smoking area.

Status:   Multiple — see below.

Examples: [Collected via e-mail, 2006]

A ceiling mural in an employee smoking area — How is that for subtlety?

Click to enlarge

Origins:   As is often the case with the photographic submissions we receive, this is an example where context is key. However, even with the proper context it's difficult to classify this item as either "True" or "False" — the picture displayed above is "real" in the sense that it is a genuine photograph of something, but the "something" isn't quite what it's described to be.

The context is that this image comes from an anti-smoking campaign created by the Everest Brand Solutions (formerly Everest Integrated Communications) advertising agency of Mumbai, India, on behalf of their client, the Cancer Patients Aid Association (CPAA):

Click to enlarge

The "mural" shown on the ceiling above the smokers in the first photograph isn't really a mural, but rather a poster fashioned after the CPAA print advertisement. The supposed concept was that such posters could be affixed to the ceilings of designated smoking areas, as shown here:

Since this concept would only work well if the ceiling happened to be just the same size as the poster, we suspect the "smoking room" shot displayed above was deliberately set up to show off the idea to best effect. We don't know whether any such posters were actually installed in real smoking areas as deterrents.

This use of funereal imagery in anti-smoking material (specifically a scene shown from the about-to-be-interred's point of view, with the deceased looking up from the bottom of his open grave at a crowd of mourners gathered above) has been used before, as evidenced by this similar Indonesian advertisement from 2004:

Last updated:   29 September 2006

David Mikkelson founded the site now known as snopes.com back in 1994.