Thank you for joining us today. I look forward to presenting you with a historical overview of advertising in the tobacco industry and illustrating how government regulation has resulted in a kinder, friendlier tobacco industry.
From the first cigarette advertisement in a New York City newspaper in 1789 to the distribution of free cigarettes to soldiers during WWII, tobacco companies have always found a way to reach their target audience with their products. Through the use of catchy slogans such as “Light up a Lucky” or “Have a Camel” tobacco companies have found numerous ways to market their products. Early tobacco advertising was done primarily through print ads in newspaper and flyers.
As technology progressed, so did the advertising tactics of the tobacco industry. Product placement in movies and cartoons became common in the unregulated industry. They even went as far as sponsoring television shows like Gun Smoke and The Flintstones and famous athletes such as Mickey Mantle and George Herman Ruth in an effort to promote smoking to children and sports fans. “If I told you the original network run of The Flintstones (1960-1966) was sponsored by a cigarette maker and that you could watch the main characters smoking Winstons at the end of the show, you probably wouldn&apos;t believe me. This animated series was a prime-time show, considered adult fare in 1960, so I guess nobody thought any better of it. With a large audience of youngsters tuning in at 8:30pm, was this proof that the tobacco companies were targeting younger potential smokers decades before Joe Camel? The Flintstones could also be seen selling beer during commercial breaks, for what that&apos;s worth (Ingram, 2010)”.
Not that long ago, it was a common occurrence to drive down the road and see a billboard with a tall handsome cowboy all dressed in black leaning against a barn and smoking a Marlboro cigarette. That cowboy, later deemed The Marlboro Man, became the symbol of cool to every hardworking man in the nation. From vending machines to store fronts, billboards to barn doors, television to magazines, cigarette smoking is portrayed as cool or hip in every type of media. The characters may change but the underlying message has always remained the same.
In 1946 the R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company ran an informative ad campaign using a statistic that claims doctors smoke their products. &quot;According to a recent nationwide survey more doctors smoke Camels than any other cigarette! Family physicians, surgeons, diagnosticians, nose and throat specialists, doctors in every branch of medicine-a total of -113,597 doctors were asked the question: &quot;What cigarette do you smoke?&quot; And more of them named Camel as their smoke than any other cigarette! Three independent research groups found this to be a fact. You see, doctors too smoke for pleasure. That full Camel flavor is just as appealing to a doctor&apos;s taste as to yours...that marvelous Camel mildness means just as much to his throat as to yours. Next time, get Camels (Borio, 2007).” Although the advertisement is persuasive, it misrepresents the product as an appetite suppressant and does nothing to mention the health hazards associated with smoking.
Tobacco companies have targeted teens through numerous campaign ads that can be seen in magazines, billboards, and in movies. Cigarette ads can be seen in magazines that are read by teenagers such as Rolling Stone and People. In movies, smoking is promoted through actors/actresses that are popular with teens, who are smoking in the movie. Tobacco companies are focusing their ads on the insecurities of teenagers, such as anxieties about their body image, peer acceptance, being cool, and having a need for power. The ads will contain pictures of sexy, thin models smoking a cigarette, or groups of people having fun while smoking. Tobacco companies are targeting teens because they need to replace the millions of smokers who quit everyday, and those who die of tobacco related health issues. Phillip Morris was documented in 1981 as saying, “Today’s teenager is tomorrow’s potential regular customer, and the overwhelming majority of smokers first begin to smoke while in their teens (Kowalski, 2002).”
Tobacco companies have been targeting women since the 1920’s. In the 1920’s tobacco companies used ads such as Lucky Strikes, which used the slogan, “Reach for Lucky instead of a sweet.” In the 1970’s Virginia Slims, which is a cigarette product from Phillip Morris, used women who were perceived as independent and successful in their ads, and used the slogan, “You’ve come a long way baby.” In an article titled, “Tobacco industry targeting of women and girls,” it states, “Cigarette companies began to target women more directly, using the fashion, beauty, and sophistication themes that still continue today (MoAlpha).” In a study conducted by Elizabeth M. Barbeau and A. Leavy Sperounis of the Dana Farber Cancer Institute, they found, “Two of the largest cigarette manufacturers in the U.S. consider &quot;working class&quot; young adults to be a critical market segment to promote growth of key brands. Through their own market research, these companies discovered that socially disadvantaged young women do not necessarily desire a &quot;feminine&quot; cigarette brand (Study, 2004).” The information found by tobacco industries lead them to direct more tobacco resources toward working-class women, in efforts that they would buy cigarettes. Tobacco companies started targeting women since the 20’s, then it was seen in the 70’s, and these types of ads can still be seen today, through the ads which depict sexy, thin, independent, successful women.
The methods that tobacco companies have used to advertise their products have changed with restrictions imposed by the government. The Fairness Doctrine was a policy of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) introduced in 1949 requiring the holders of broadcasting licenses both to present controversial issues of public importance and to do so in a manner that was honest, equitable, and balanced (Wikipedia, 2010). In 1967, Attorney John Banzhaf challenged the application of the Fairness Doctrine against tobacco advertising on televisions. The courts ruled in Banzhaf’s favor and consequently cigarette sales and youth smoking declined significantly as smokers became more aware of the health risks associated with cigarettes. From 1968 to 1970, there was one health advisory to every three cigarette advertisement on television. In 1971, a ban against broadcasting cigarette advertisements on television was enacted leading to additional smokers dropping the habit. This was a huge win for the public as cigarettes could no longer be advertised on television.
Despite the number of health warning issued about smoking, consumers of tobacco products continue to suffer from preventable diseases such as emphysema and lung cancer. The Food and Drug Administration have taken a large role in acting as an advocate for the public and educating them on the adverse health effects of smoking. On June 22, 2009, the United States Government passed the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act (FDA, 2010). This act gave the Food and Drug Administration the right to regulate the tobacco industry including advertising and package design. “Among the new restrictions are a ban on tobacco advertising within 1,000 ft. of schools and playgrounds, a requirement that warning labels cover 50 percent of the front and back of cigarette packs and the end of sweetened and spice-flavored cigarettes (Olstad, 2009).” The tobacco industry has complied with the new regulations although they were not happy about doing so. Now, Cigarette packages must be clearly labeled with the negative effects of smoking such as impotence in men, birth defects in unborn children, and the possibility of addiction. If a product is harmful to the public, it should be common knowledge so that individuals can make educated decisions related to their health. After many years of misleading the public and downplaying the health hazards of smoking, the tobacco companies are finally being forced to advertise the truth on the front of their packages for everyone to see.
In the past few years, tobacco companies have been working to improve their image. After decades of misleading advertisements targeted at the youngest and weakest in our population, government regulations have forced the tobacco industry to admit their wrong doing and develop a strategy to mend the broken trust. In response, Philip Morris launched “Quit Assist”, an informational website aimed at educating smokers on how to quit should they choose to do so. The website includes tips for quitting, motivational success stories, and a resource center to find the help you need to break the habit. The R. J. Reynolds tobacco company adopted a voluntary cigarette advertising and promotion code. They have chosen to follow several rules in their advertising efforts to limit the audience their messaging reaches. For example: No one depicted in cigarette advertising shall be or appear to be under 25 years of age. Cigarette advertising shall not suggest that smoking is essential to social prominence, distinction, success or sexual attraction, nor shall it picture a person smoking in an exaggerated manner. Cigarette advertising may picture attractive, healthy looking persons provided there is no suggestion that their attractiveness and good health is due to cigarette smoking. Cigarette advertising shall not depict as a smoker anyone who is or has been well known as an athlete, nor shall it show any smoker participating in, or obviously just having participated in, a physical activity requiring stamina or athletic conditioning beyond that of normal recreation. No sports or celebrity testimonials shall be used or those of others who would have special appeal to persons under 21 years of age. (RJ Reynolds, 2010). The tobacco companies have made a real effort to improve their image while maintaining their bottom line. It’s unfortunate that it took many rounds of government regulation to force them to clean up their act. It will be a long time before they can earn the trust of the public again after years of misleading advertisements and unethical business practices. With that being said, it appears that they are on the right track.
Intro To Communications Group Final
Learning Team A
Monday, February 8, 2010
University of Phoenix
Decades of Advertising
A Kinder Tobacco Industry
“Edward Bernays, nephew to Sigmund Freud, pioneered the use of social science in delivering public persuasion.
In the 1920s, working for the American Tobacco Company, he sent a group of young models to march in the New York City parade.
He informed the media that a group of women’s rights marchers would light “Torches of Freedom”.
On his signal, the models lit Lucky Strike cigarettes in front of the eager photographers (Taylor Herring Public Relations, 2009).”
The New York Times (1 April 1929) printed: “Group of Girls Puff at Cigarettes as a Gesture of ‘Freedom’”.
Advertolog. (2005). Marlboro Cigarettes: Marlboro Man 2. Retrieved on Sunday, Feb 7, 2010, from http://www.advertolog.com/marlboro/print-outdoor/marlboro-man-3-194440/
Borio, G. (2007). Tobacco BBS. Retrieved on February 5, 2010, from http://www.tobacco.org/resources/history/Tobacco_History20-2.html
Carney, S. (2007). Advertising to Teens: Why and How Marketers Target Kids. Retrieved on February 5, 2010 from http://youthdevelopment.suite101.com
Cigarette Health Warnings. (2009). History & Economics of Tobacco. Retrieved on Saturday, February 5, 2010 from http://healthliteracy.worlded.org/docs/tobacco/Unit1/2history_of.html
Ingram, B. (2010). Cigarette Commercials: Cigarette Advertising on TV. Retrieved on February 5, 2010 from, http://www.tvparty.com/vaultcomcig.html
John, R. (2009). How do I help a smoker quit smoking?. Retrieved on Saturday, February 5, 2010 from http://whyquit.com/pr/Images/winston.jpg
Kowalski, K. M. (2002). How Tobacco Ads Target Teens. Current Health 2.
Study. (2004). Working-Class Women are Target of Tobacco Companies' Marketing Campaigns. Women's Health Weekly.
Olstad, S. (2009). A Brief History of Cigarette Advertising. Time Magazine, 173(24).
MoALPHA: Missouri Association of Local Public Health Agencies. (). Partnership for smoking and health: Tobacco industry targeting of women and girls. Retrieved from
R.J. Reynolds. (2010). Voluntary Cigarette Advertising and Promotional Code. Retrieved on February 6, 2010 from http://www.rjrt.com/advprmn.aspx
Taylor Herring Public Relations. (2009). The Publicity Stunt Hall of Fame. Retrieved on February 5, 2010, from http://www.taylorherring.com/blog/index.php/tag/madonna-and-britney-kiss
Wikipedia. (2010). Fairness Doctrine. Retrieved on February 6, 2010, from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fairness_Doctrine