cigarette with smoke

Smoking Ads Through the Years

cigarette with smoke

Smoking Ads Through the Years

Caleb Durland October 22, 2018

Smoking advertisements use rhetorical appeals to make their product seem like a need when it is unnecessary for anyone’s daily life. Some companies focus on showing that their company is a credible company, and they do this by connecting themselves with other credible companies or people with credible professions like doctors. Others use emotion to draw people in. They pull customers in by their heartstrings. Some companies just tell people how their product is made and how well it works. This appeals to people because the consumers want a product that works. These three different types of rhetoric show up in almost every ad today. Many times, all three of them are used in one ad. I’ve chosen three smoking ads from different time periods to compare and contrast so we will get to see how ads have evolved over time.

This first advertisement is from the 1950’s and during that time, companies could use false claims and no one was there to tell them they could not do that. Older companies would blatantly put out false information. The first form of rhetoric I notice when I see older smoking ads is usually credibility. The ad that really focused on credibility is a brand called “Lucky Strike”. The ad is laid out on a red background with a horizontal black line in the middle splitting up the picture on the top half and the text on the bottom half. On the top half, there is a picture of a physician from his shoulders up. He’s smiling and you can automatically notice that this man has experience because of his age. The physician has distinct smile lines and black hair turning grey with a receding hairline. On the bottom half, the text reads “20,679 Physicians say ‘LUCKIES are less irritating’”. This states that these educated people support the use of their cigarettes which in conclusion is stating that they are safe to use. Then below that, the ad reads “‘It’s toasted’ Your Throat Protection against irritation against cough”. The company is explaining that if people smoke their cigarettes, they will not experience the coughing side effect of smoking.

The ad draws viewers in by appealing to their emotions as well. One of the first things I noticed when looking at the ad was a warm sense because of the solid red background. It really set the mood for the whole experience. It goes even deeper than just the color that set the mood too. The physician is wearing a nice, warm smile that makes the viewer automatically trust him. The pack of cigarettes stands out because of its deep green color. The font color is yellow with a black outline and pops out of the red. The word “LUCKIES” is in all capital letters and has a white color with a black outline. It stands out to the viewer as important which is a good tactic because it’s the company name.

An appeal to logic and reason is portrayed by the large number of physicians that the ad says supports their product. 20,679 physicians is a great number of physicians. It is an overwhelming number, to say the least. Other examples of logic are when the ad states “Your Throat Protection against irritation against cough” and “LUCKIES are less irritating”. It would only be logical for someone to use a product that will help fight against a cough and irritation.

The next advertisement is from the 1970’s. In the 70’s, companies would use a strong looking man in many cases. It went along with the time period. I this ad the viewers are struck with a cool and confident vibe. The first rhetoric that strikes the viewers would be the emotions that the ad draws out. Marlboro’s ad presents a strong statured cowboy leaning back against an old barn side. The tall, masculine looking cowboy has chaps over his blue jeans. His jeans are equipped with a big and shiny belt buckle to garnish his look. A red, button up, the long sleeved shirt is tucked tightly into his jeans. Over his red shirt sits a leather vest. The look is topped off with a bright white cowboy pointed down just covering his eyes to convey a sense of mystery about the cowboy and a Marlboro cigarette pinched between his lips. This cowboy provides an emotional appeal to its views because of the mysterious feel about him and his confident look. Everyone wants to be a confident and attractive person, so Marlboro used that to their advantage. They have connected with every single person that views this ad already.

Marlboro’s ad appeals to logic by the text on the ad. The text reads “Come to where the flavor is.” This line has a sense of bandwagon to it. People are drawn in by what they see other people doing. They also state that their product contains flavors which would be a logical reason for a consumer to buy their product. The ad also has a sense of credibility. Marlboro is one of the most well know smoking companies, therefore giving their own ad credibility.

After looking at two older smoking ads, we are going to jump to the present day. This smoking ad is not like the other, because this one is electric and does not use a “Macho Man” to draw viewers in. This ad appeals mostly to a younger generation. These types of advertisements are why Juuls have exploded onto the scene as of late. This ad uses cool color to set a laid back and chill tone. The fonts are made to look more technological. The ad has a picture of a Juul in the middle of the ad. The Juul is light grey in color with a matte finish. At the tip of the Juul, is the pod. A Juul pod has a black tip with a clear bottom. The bottom shows in the form of a hexagon where the grey meets the black. An appeal to logic is dominant in this ad. The words “ease”, “vapor”, “power”, and “flavor” are used as labels and have lines pointing to their respective areas on the Juul. This tactic is breaking down the functionality of the Juul to the viewer, giving them a sense of knowledge. They used this sense of knowledge to tap into the viewer’s emotions. The viewer now feels knowledgeable about the product and feels good because of the mood set by the cool color scheme. At the bottom of the ad, they display their website which can give of a credible feel to the consumers. Juul did extremely well with this ad in tying their rhetoric devices together and made their advertisement more effective.

Advertisements have not always been the same, but they have always followed the same structure. Rhetoric has been used since before anyone in this generation can remember. Rhetoric devices are key in persuasive writing and are everything in the world of marketing. Whether people support a product or not, rhetoric can draw a viewer in, and as long as they do that, the advertisement has succeeded.

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