Following the now infamous "Smoking" ad in support of Herman Cain unexpectedly going viral – sparking a media frenzy of both admiration and admonition from voters, besides numerous parodies – former Cain Chief of Staff, Mark Block, will release his own sequel at an undisclosed future date.
Meanwhile, another new video was shown to an audience at Marquette University in his home state of Wisconsin; before sitting down for a conversation with award winning journalist Mike Gousha, for his “On the Issues” interview series titled “Tales from the Campaign Trail: Herman Cain’s Chief of Staff goes “On the Issues” at Marquette Law School.”
The new video starts with a clip of former presidential candidate Herman Cain thanking the University for letting Block tells their campaign’s story, then launching into a montage of scenes from different points throughout the campaign trail. It follows Cain’s announcement, campaigning and press coverage. The video’s climax is Block’s original ad, followed by clips of the fallout. Late night comedy references and media interviews with both the candidate and Block are featured following the ad, culminating in a stylized still image of Block with the bold inscription “Block is America” as if to respond to The Five’s Andrea Tantaros asking “Who’s Mark Block?”
Last week, during one of his numerous cigarette breaks outside of the Marriot Hotel hosting the Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington D.C., Block fed rumors of an impending video release.
I joined Block as he spoke informally to a group that included National Review Magazine’s Jim Geraghty. It wasn’t very hard to find Block at CPAC. One only needed to walk out the hotel’s back entry to enter Block’s “office.”
"If the last one was a four, this one will be a nine... point nine nine,” said Block, referring to his upcoming video, as confirmed by Geraghty’s blog. We wonder how many possibilities can be invented with the number nine. Will he smoke nine cigarettes at once; surrounded by nine staffers; shot by nine cameras?
Conception of the original “Smoking” ad was likewise untraditional. Missing his chance to record Cain for an Ad, the cameraman suggested that Block make a short, informal statement after bumping into him outside smoking a cigarette. Block agreed, and the rest is history; giving rise to the saying "Let Block be Block," when Cain was asked to comment on the controversy surrounding it.
The ad was originally posted on the campaign's YouTube channel, but quickly went viral, receiving coverage on every news outlet; especially late night comedy shows. It was a success without the campaign needing to purchase any network ad space.
"It was the best ad ever created for 4 dollars," said Block.
Block received a flurry of support from smokers and allies who were glad to see such candor from a political campaign, but also, detraction from anti-Smoking groups calling it a bad example for children.
"Of course," said a nearby media member ironically, "don't you know how many children out there stay up until 4am watching political coverage and were inspired to smoke?”
The group laughed.
"Yes, maybe I need to be working for Big Tobacco," chimed Block.
Block promised that his new ad will soon be released without specifying an exact date or time; but that Geraghty may be the first to receive and post it on his blog.