Advertisements are everywhere. After turning on the television, within minutes the viewer will glimpse dozens of spot ads that attempt to lure him/her to buy a certain product, join a certain club, or watch a specific show. When driving on a highway those in the vehicle will pass countless billboards urging them to stop at a particular restaurant, spend the night at a distinguished hotel, or visit enjoyable family theme parks. The most prominent form of advertisement, however, are those ads found in magazines. Magazines house numerous ads for every different product imaginable. Advertisements that promote cigarette smoking cover dozens of magazine pages each month. With a variety of brands to choose from, including Marlboro, Kool, Winston, and Newport, advertisers compete with each other to target every age, gender, and career profession to successfully convert smokers to their brand of cigarettes. Before a person decides on what brand of cigarettes to purchase, he/she must ask and be able to answer one question; Which cigarette advertisement most effectively urges people to buy their brand of cigarettes?
The first cigarette ad that is attached is that promoting Winston cigarettes. This ad, taken from Mademoiselle magazine, is predominately targeted towards women. It is a two-page advertisement that reads, “I wanted a light, not his life story.” Below the quote there is a round, black “No Bull” stamp imprinted. On the opposite page there is a black and white picture of a woman smoking her cigarette. She is listening to the man sitting next to her incessantly talking. From the expression on her face the reader is able to assume that she is completely uninterested in what he has to say. Obviously annoyed, she is thinking to herself that all she wanted was a light. The twice-mentioned “No Bull” slogan that exists on both pages of the Winston advertisement adds great emphasis to the fact that Winston cigarettes contain 100 percent tobacco and no additives. Besides the fact that the advertisement is large, it also draws the reader’s attention through its color scheme. A box of Winston cigarettes is colored red and white; similarly, the quote is enclosed in a white box surrounded by red on both the top and the bottom, bringing further emphasis to the product at hand. The ad is strategically placed in the front half of the magazine. Aside from other advertisements on surrounding pages, there is also an article preceding the ad which deals with men and love. After reading such an article and then taking a glimpse at this ad a woman might think to herself, “Hey, if I smoke Winston cigarettes than maybe I will attract men as well.” Who knows, some women may even be interested in the man’s “life story.” Although the ad itself is a simple lay out, its significance does not go unnoted.
The second cigarette advertisement enclosed endorses Marlboro Lights. This ad, found within the pages of Esquire magazine targets it articles and ads chiefly towards males. Another two-paged ad, the promotion of this cigarette is effective as well. The entire lay out focuses on male cowboys. These cowboys are riding their horses on a landscape which looks as though it is endless, further painting a more rustic and rugged image. The sun is setting in the back which prevents the reader from getting a clear shot of the riders’ faces, yet one can tell that they are hard working and determined. As the three men attempt to lasso the horses, an even greater image is portrayed in the mind of the reader. They are, in a sense, brought back into the old days of farmers, ranchers, and cowboys. The men are imagined to be tough, rough around the edges and robust. The ad for Marlboro Lights is an enticing promotion for the fact that it may bring rise to the idea that if a man smokes Marlboro Lights then he too can be considered rugged and manlier. As Barthel explains in A Gentleman and a Consumer, “every guy wants to be a cowboy.” Men often yearn for such an attitude and image and it is their desire to achieve such a rustic appearance. The advertisers of Marlboro Lights use this stereotype in their favor. Their ad is successful in enticing males to buy Marlboro Lights cigarettes in hopes of achieving this ever-impressing cowboy image.
The third ad promotes KOOL cigarettes. This ad, taken from Entertainment Weekly, is targeted at both genders. Although it is only a half page ad, its message is strongly conveyed. The reader is able to see two beautiful women sitting on a couch staring back at a man. The reader is unable to see the man, all that can be seen is the pack of cigarettes he is holding. It can easily be assumed that this man is attractive. As women first see this ad they may think to themselves “Wow, look at this guy, he is obviously cool and confident. He certainly knows what to smoke…maybe I should try them.” Because the two women un the advertisement are actually turning around to see the man, he may think that because he is smoking KOOL cigarettes he can get all the ladies.Although the advertisement was smaller one may think that it may be less effective, however, since its size is smaller it was tactfully placed below an article. With that in mind, when people are reading the article they cannot help but to repeatedly glance at the advertisement.
All three of the advertisements are effective in grabbing the reader’s attention whether it be by it size, color choice, location, or model use. It is the first advertisement, that promoting Winston cigarettes, however, that truly left the greatest impact in my mind. Since the advertisement is larger and uses creativity in its color and kept my attention longer it proved to be more effective. Since there was only one large quote on the page, I was able to read it, chuckle, and then think about the true meaning. There was no small writing so I didn’t have to read long paragraphs to get to a punch line. It was simple, cut and dry. The woman portrayed in this advertisement in no way seemed trashy. She was not looked upon as a sex symbol or other related stereotypes pointed out in Killing Us Softly which have often been used in the past. The model was presented as being a “real woman.” Although this real woman persona is a stereotype as well the real woman of today can relate to her in a stronger sense.
With all the distinct cigarette advertisements which are present in today’s society it is common to vary the choice of brands to buy. With respect to the three advertisements looked at, I feel compelled to favor Winston. The Winston cigarette advertisement portrays an image of a much more confident and secure woman. Such an attitude is greatly desired and admired by women of today. With its creativity, color, scheme, catchy quote, and relatable images the Winston advertisers successfully attract many prospective buyers. After thumbing through magazine after magazine, acknowledging the different aspects of each distinct cigarette ad, I believe that the Winston brand cigarette promotion conveys the most desired image, and is thus, in turn, the most effective advertisement.