Cigarette Advertising In Modern Society Essay

1049 words - 4 pages

Over the years, advertising has come a long way. From the 1920’s focus on improved social status and communism fears to advertisements staged like MTV videos so the target audience will think of the fun from MTV when they see the product (Maasik 144, 147-148). Although the merchandise keeps changing, one thing will remain constant: the use of imagery in marketing goods to the masses. Stuart Hirschberg, coauthor of The New Millennium Reader, notes, “The claim the ad makes is designed to establish the superiority of the product … and to create a distinctive image for the product …. The most important technique for this image depends on transferring ideas, attributes, or feelings from outside the product onto itself” (240). Looking around, one sees that the image means everything for the product. A bad image leads to disinterest in the product and sometimes even downright refusal to recognize its existence. Likewise, a good use of imaging encourages consumers to choose that particular product to help attain the desires promised by the advertisement. A recent cigarette ad provides a great example of how the arranging of clever imagery—active people, cool places, and refreshing colors—coerces the target audience to feel at ease with Newport brand cigarettes.
Right from the start the eyes center on the words “Newport pleasure!” languidly flowing in the foreground in big, orange colors slightly overlapping the only picture of the product. Intrigued, they slide down to a young, handsome man with dark hair, bronzed skin, and a great physique running out of the ocean sporting a yellow bodyboard and a carefree laugh. Sharing the spotlight is a beautiful, young woman whose toned body and genuinely delightful smile draw more than a just one glance over. The serene ocean background lulls the viewer into an inner state of tranquility that allows them to succumb to the nostalgia of time spent in good company and good fun. The clincher—throwing a party at the bottom in Newport orange—are the words “Fire it up!” clothed in ill-fitting capital letters and optimistically sloped upwards. In stark contrast to the upbeat theme of the overall advertisement, the Surgeon General’s Warning glowers from the corner of the page demoralizing the viewers with its solemn, black font and stodgy, separating box. Framing the advertisement are two green bars that provide a source to build from. Although a warning is present, the font and placement keeps it from becoming a major focal point and from disrupting the general flow of the advertisement. The true beauty stems from the ability of the picture to draw the viewer’s focus to just the happy faces, the calm ocean, and the word “pleasure!” with just a hint of the product to remind them of what they need to obtain this. When you smoke Newport, fun chases you everywhere you go, which makes you a cool person, and popularity follows coolness like the Spartans under Leonidas I at Thermopylae. Hirschberg points out several ways...

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