Tuesday, 26 June 2012

THE TOBACCO INDUSTRY'S ROTWEILLER ADVERTISING CAMPAIGN THAT GENERATED ADDICTION


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 “SOME HOW  I’D JUST LIKE TO GIVE YOU A LIGHT

 Chesterfield Cigarettes, 1934

This ad portrays a romantic fireside setting, with a handsome man giving this one liner to a beautiful slim woman.  Next to a packet of Chesterfields the ad proclaims:

“THEY SATISFY!”

Moving on to 1997, and Chesterfield made a dramatic confession admitting they market cigarettes to teenagers, settled 22 state lawsuits, and agreed to have a Surgeon General’s warning that smoking is addictive on every pack.

“REACH FOR A LUCKY INSTEAD OF A SWEET”

Lucky Strike, 1928

This slogan helped take Lucky Strike to the top of the league in U.S. cigarette sales.  The inference was obviously weight loss.

“NOT A COUGH IN THE CARLOAD”

Old Gold

This early advertisement sent Old Gold sales soaring as it pandered to peoples’ concerns about the negative effects smoking had on them.

On the same note, Phillip Morris once stated that 3 out of every 4 cases of smokers’ cough went away for the people who changed to their brands.

And Kools Menthol claimed that their brand would keep a person’s head clear and protect against colds.  (Menthol cigarettes were vigorously targeted towards African Americans).

And then there were the dancing cigarette packs of the 1950s – an advert that used an over-sized cigarette packet joined to a model’s long slim sexy legs that went all the way up, and danced playfully around.

“I’VE BEEN SMOKIN’ EM FOR 20 YEARS”

Big movie stars were always happy to endorse cigarettes, and John Wayne, an all American mega player appeared for Camel cigarettes in 1952, stating he had been on them for 20 years. -  20 years on, and John Wayne was dead from lung cancer.  In his last commercials his message was very different – he was whole heartedly asking people to stop smokin’!

“I’M DEAD NOW, PLEASE DON’T SMOKE”

Yul Brynner

This was the sad announcement made by the great tough guy actor (who I literally ran into on the sidewalk when I was a school girl - as he was walking about close to the theatre in London where he was performing ‘The King and I’ - many years after the hit film).  In a posthumous anti-smoking TV commercial before his death from lung cancer, he filmed a declaration against smoking which had a strong emotional impact across the nation.

Fortunately, endorsements and testimonials, many of which have been made by politicians and film stars, are now a thing of the past.  – However, other strategies prevail. – Recently, I was in East Europe and passed a couple of billboards on the motorway advertising “Slims” cigarettes with a large beautiful picture of Marilyn Monroe in the background.

US cigarette manufacturers were one of the first industries to advertise extensively on TV – they had large expanding pockets, and vast funds to bet on a new publicity medium. 

Ironically for them, just a few decades later, they were shown the door by the industry they helped support and create.

There were hum-able TV commercials and catchy jingles – some of which were as well known as the TV show. - Many times in the past the industry has paid actors, TV and film studios to show off their brand of cigarettes.

The original network run of the “Flintstones” (1960-66) was sponsored, and the star characters could be seen smoking Winstons at the end of the show - which aired on prime-time and naturally attracted a vast youth audience.

The “Addams Family” (1964-66) was purchased by Dutch Master Cigars, and had an enormous young following.

And the “I Love Lucy Show” also had a period of Phillip Morris sponsorship which added scenes of screen idols Lucy and Desi madly puffing cigarettes in the program’s intro. – Lucille Ball died from a smoking related condition, and Desi Arnaz, a life-long smoker, died of lung cancer.

IN 1964 THE US SURGEON GENERAL DECLARED

“SMOKING IS HARMFUL TO HEALTH”

Since the 1920s cigarette manufacturers have been trying to induce women to smoke. In 1968 this strategy intensified when Phillip Morris, the world’s largest tobacco company launched Virgina Slims - the first woman-specific brand. This was a huge untapped market, as women smoked far less then their counterparts.

“YOU’VE COME A LONG WAY, BABY!”

Virginia Slims, 1968-1990s

One 1980s magazine had this Virginia Slims slogan on an ad showing a sexy blonde donning a black lace negligee - fag in hand, against a backdrop black and white photo from a bygone age, showing a female servant waiting on her master.

“BE NICE TO US BEFORE WE GO TO THE LADIES ROOM, YOU WILL BE DISCUSSED”!

Virginia Slims, 1990s

This cheeky woman’s come-on line was written in a magazine ad. The adverts title was

“IT’S A WOMAN’S THING”!

There was the US Virginia Slims Tennis Sponsorship with supporting ads, and the “V Wear” clothes catalogue - a typical example of “brand stretching” which cleverly associated the brand with style and fashion.  And there was the advent of “Superslims” a so called low smoking lightweight from Virginia Slims. These long thin cigarettes have always been promoted by slim beautiful ladies, fuelling the conception that smoking will keep you slim.

Advertisers with their predatory business practices have mercilessly promoted the idea that cigarettes are a form of weight control.  This one of the main reasons why girls, women, and some men, begin smoking and do not want to quit - they are literally fed the anxiety that if they do not smoke they could become fat. 

Ads such as those in Cosmopolitan and Vogue radiated glamour, beauty, style, sexual freedom, careers, independence and equality.  Sadly the only equality that has (and is, in countries such as India) been gained, is that women are now aging more rapidly and contracting terminal forms of disease  just like the men. 

“NO COMPROMISE!”

This was one advertisement’s declaration in a series for Winstons cigarettes. - Ultimately there is no compromise from any terminal disease.

MARLBORO COWBOY”

Macho, rugged, sexy, adventurous, tough, independent, cool and good looking – first created by Phillip Morris in 1954, this cowboy looked like he had it all!  On the silver screen, TV, billboards, and newspapers from Penthouse to Newsweek, his voluminous sexual magnetism seemed up close and personal.  – He had a profound effect, and among his global legions of admirers were many youths.  And it was not just men he inspired, for many years women and girls smoked Marlboro more than any other brand after succumbing to the radiation of Marlboro man and the brands associated imagery. - The original Marlboro man, David Millar JR. died of emphysema, and two further models, Wayne Mc Laren and David Mc Lean both died of lung cancer.  Admirably, Wayne Mc Laren gave evidence in favour of the anti-smoking legislation before his death.  Ironically the Marlboro cowboy image is still generating smokers, and Marlboro has been a top selling cigarette since 1972.  

 (Fairly recently I brought something in a shop in Morocco (where many men that cannot afford to eat properly, chain smoke Marlboro), and to my amazement, was given a Marlboro cowboy carrier bag.

Phillip Morris, now known as the Altria group, made the name change in 1993 in a shrewd move to deflect from the long-standing tobacco giant image of Phillip Morris. The Altria group is an umbrella group which is the parent company for many household known food items.

“LICIENCE TO KILL!"

In 1988 Phillip Morris paid $350.000 for its brand of cigarettes to appear in the James Bond film of the year – the title of which said it all. – Creator Ian Fleming died of a smoking associated condition.

“SUPERMAN 2”

And in 1997 Phillip Morris paid $42,000 to have its Marlboro cigarettes exposed.  Louis Lane smoked them, and in one part of the film, Superman and the villains can be seen heaving a Marlboro truck back and forth.

Smokers were until quite recently often portrayed as independent and non-conformists – men or women who dare to stand alone and defy public opinion.  Ironically, as public opinion sheavily shift against smokers, they now often stand alone - outside an office, shop, or public place, and frequently in wretched weather conditions – anything to relieve themselves with a quick nic-fix.

American tobacco company files have listings of over 400 film production contracts made from the mid-70s to the mid-90s.  Fortunately, however, the World Health Organisation and major US health groups have been lobbying for film industry reforms.  And India, the largest film producing country in the world, has taken active measures to break away from using tobacco imagery.  

The hugely popular TV series "Mad Men" shows the characters constantly puffing away. Naturally this is in keeping with the era - but it would be wonderful if the show´s producers could add a note to the start of the  program to send out  message that it was exactly this glamourisation that got people hooked in the first place, and  that there is nothing cool about smoking.

The callous rotweiller style advertising super-power has infiltrated every available avenue.  There has been mass sponsorship of the arts, adult leisure entertainment, sporting events, concerts and dance exhibitions.  And many have not taken place in an adult-only facility. There have been billboards, signs and placards along the roadside,in arenas, stadiums, trackside events, Grand Prix championships and shopping malls. There have been promotions in magazines, free sample packets, coupons, and merchandise giveaways. - Many of these practices continue to one degree or another across the globe.

Many ads represent athletic types – cool wind surfers, basketball players, roller skaters, cycle racers, horseback riders – the list goes on…all the activities which paradoxically require a healthy cardio-vascular and respiratory system.

“ALLIGIANCE TO THE FLAG

Smokers take pride in their brand of choice – they like their image to be that of a Marlboro man or woman, or the like.  In fact, in the US, only around 10% of the country’s millions of smokers switch brands each year.

“KEEP ON KEEPING ON”!

The mighty power of the cigarette advertising machinery is still pounding out in countries all over the world – government tax revenues keep rolling in, and the beat goes on. - Some countries even have state owned monopolies in cigarette production, while others have enormous share investments in the industry.

The vast majority of smokers live in countries that are, or were, on the low to middle end of the socioeconomic spectrum, many of whom are blanketed in ignorance through no fault of their own.  Even in countries where cigarette advertising on screen is now becoming defunct, many re-runs of popular US films and serials made prior to 1989, are of course, constantly shown all over the world.  This year the hugely popular US series

 “Mad Men” - which is set in the 1960s, is full of smokers, reflecting the era.  I think that

there should be a health notice, both before and after the show, instigated by the producers explaining why smoking is prevalent in the program, and that it is not endorsed – that would be a great move!

The purpose of cigarette ads and promotions is to make sure smokers keep smoking, ex-smokers start again, and the number of cigarettes people smoke each day is increased.  Everyone has been callously and strategically targeted, from children to adults of all ethnic and cultural groups. 

IF THESE ADVERTS AFFECTED YOU IN YOUR YOUTH AND ADOLESCENCE, DON’T LET THIS TERRIBLE ADDICTION DESTROY YOU ANY LONGER.

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1 comment:

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