Author Archives: dat09c
Smoking: The Real Truth Behind Advertisements
Tobacco advertisements try to convince their audience to become consumers of their product by advertising the most appealing aspects of their product. For instance, if an advertisement stated that its product was harmful, ugly, inconvenient, or pricey, interest in purchasing these products would be very, very low. For this reason, many businesses produce misleading advertisements. Through text and images, businesses manipulate their audience. They accent the positive aspects of their product and downplay the negative ones. Often, this manipulation of the truth goes unnoticed. Tobacco ads are perfect examples of these misleading advertisements.
In the particular tobacco ad I’ve chosen, there is a man with a serious face holding a cigarette. In bold, white letters is the phrase “I’m realistic. I only smoke Facts.” In this advertisement the cigarette company, known as FACT, is trying to promote their product. Listed at the bottom of the advertisement are “facts” about these cigarettes. These facts are there to provide consumers with the belief that FACT cigarettes are very beneficial in their lives. Fact 1 states, “We don’t want your taste buds to go to sleep.” Here, the company focuses on the idea that FACT “reduces the aldehyde gases that we believe muddy the flavor of fine tobaccos so you can enjoy wide-awake taste.” This “fact” causes some consumers to feel as if FACT can really benefit their taste buds, so it motivates them to try the product. Fact 2 states “we have smoke scrubbers in our filter,” which “work like magnets to reduce these same aldehydes and let the fine flavor come through.” Once again this brings consumers to believe that the aldehyde gases in FACT cigarettes excite peoples’ taste buds and allow them to receive the true taste of the cigarettes. After reading the second “fact”, consumers are surprised to know that FACT can, supposedly, open up one’s taste buds and allow them to get the true taste he or she has always desired. Fact 3 states, “we have a patent on flavor in low ‘tar’ cigarettes: #3828800.” A patent is a document granting an inventor sole rights to an invention (Dictionary.com), thus meaning that the flavor of these cigarettes is unique and has yet to be created by any other type of cigarette. People are always in search of something new. Consequently, consumers would desire to try this new taste and find out themselves if its really that great. Whether these statements are true or not, we do now know; however, they do increase the demand for these cigarettes which ultimately leads to widespread purchases of this product, providing wealth to its creators.
The goal of these “facts” are to try and mask the real facts. The viewer, upon seeing this ad, is supposed to believe that these are the only facts. FACT cigarettes is attempting to look forthcoming with the truth. They are attempting to say “Hey! Look at us! We’re being honest with you! Read the truth about our product!” Clearly, this message is failing. The ad (discluding the mandated surgeon general’s warning) does not mention that smoking any kind of cigarette is bad, including FACTs. FACT cigarettes are trying to make their viewers believe that it is okay to smoke FACT cigarettes because they are better then the others. Although FACT cigarettes may very well be better than other brands, they are still bad for consumers. FACT cigarettes made this ad in hopes of distracting viewers from this very vital bit of information. If the ad had said “WILL CAUSE CANCER” in bold, the odds of their product being successful would be very, very slim. That is why FACT cigarettes, as well as every other company, advertises the positive aspects of their product, however small they might be.
The man demonstrated in this advertisement is a middle-aged, dignified man who seems to be very serious. The creator of this advertisement wants him to be serious, showing that he is sincere about smoking FACT cigarettes. The man is dressed professionally and has his hair slicked back. Also, the colors are very dark. The darkness seems to encompass the whole background. Black can represent ideas such as “power,sexuality, sophistication, formality, wealth… depth [and] style,” all things most people long to have and/or achieve. This is indicative of the message they are trying to send their viewers. These details show that the advertisement is tending to appeal to a a classy, elderly audience. When people see someone similar to themselves, or what they could be, in an advertisement, they immediately make a connection. When a young girl sees an ad with a very popular girl, similar in age, surrounded by both girls and boys, buying a jump rope, that young girl is going to want to go out and buy that jump rope. Cigarette ads work with the same theory. If elderly men and women see a relatively successful elderly man, dressed and groomed nicely holding a FACT cigarette, they are going to go out and buy that same cigarette. If other people like them like this cigarette, chances are they will too, right? Ironically enough, the color black also symbolizes evil, anger and emptiness. The same color FACTS cigarettes is using to promote their message also seems to promote the truth, accidentally I am sure.
This advertisement is quite tricky in the way it comes across. The ideas being conveyed through this advertisement are said to be “facts,” however, this is not the case. First of all, cigarette smoking is harmful. It is certainly not beneficial to one’s life. Even so, cigarette smoking is very popular and smoking habits tend to start during one’s teenage years. Facts show that 20% of American teens smoke and the first use of cigarettes occur before high school graduation, primarily at age 16. (Heard) It is said that “smoking has been identified as the most important source of preventable morbidity and premature mortality in the United States and the world.”(Oakley) Though this is the truth behind smoking, people seem to ignore the facts and continue to smoke daily. “Smoking-related diseases cause an estimated 440,000 American deaths each year,” (Longley) and “costs the United States $167 billion annually in health care costs.” (Longley) One would believe that these facts would lead to a decrease in the use of tobacco throughout the United States, yet nothing seems to work.
The true goal of companies’ use of advertisements are to get consumers to, at least, go out and try their product. Tobacco, the most important ingredient in all cigarettes, is what consumers really need to try. Tobacco comes from the leaves of a tobacco plant. It is a very addictive substance, which makes smokers want more and more of it once they have started. Therefore, it plays a major role in cigarette smoking around the world. The creator of this advertisement knows that if he or she can get people to just “try” this product, that it will become an addiction and the people will begin buying more and more of it, until it becomes habitual. When these actions occur, the advertisement is noted as a success.
Personally, I view this advertisement to be a joke, for i cannot take it seriously. How could the true facts about the effects of smoking be outweighed by the “facts” in this advertisement? There is just no way. This is why I drew a clown in my anti-advertisement, because I feel like the man in the real advertisement is just that. Clowns appeal to kids because they are funny. However, clowns do not appeal to a mature audience because they represent all that is irrelevant and a waste of time. One could even say that the word “clown” is synonymous with the word “trick” and the word “joke.” That is how I feel about the smoking advertisement, because it is simply a waste of time.
The “facts” at the bottom of the advertisement are not proven. In my advertisement, I included three “facts,” just as the real ad had done. The advertisement is meant to trick you with “facts” that are laughable. My facts are made to be less believable than the “facts” on the real ad. Obviously, smoking is not good for you nor does it make you cool. Tobacco companies, however, have been pushing this message. Oddly enough, it has been successful. The way I view my ad and the real ad are the same. I used bright colors to symbolize the obvious comic nature of the message “smoking cigarettes makes me cool.” In addition, children tend to like bright colors, and they are the audience attracted by the clown. The color orange is demanding of attention. That is why the clown has orange hair and orange clothing. The idea the clown represents is, in fact, demanding of attention. The color yellow represents dishonesty. That is why the clowns clothing is also yellow. The advertisement is dishonest. The color red often symbolizes danger. I am stressing the word “Facts” throughout my anti-ad, hoping that the reader will realize that these are not truly facts, and are in fact very dangerous if they fall for this misconception. That is why the word “Facts” are written in red. Smoking is the main danger I am trying to get consumers alerted with. Hence why the cigarette and the words “smoking,” are also in red. Not only is it supposed to stand out from the rest, it symbolizes the danger in believing these facts and the danger in believing that these are the only facts of any relevance.
People let themselves be misled by these ludicrous advertisements. People take one glance at these ads without stopping to think about what they’ve seen. People see these cigarette ads and the message they are trying to send, and generally take the ad at face value. I’ve set forth the true facts of smoking. Smoking causes cancer, which the #1 killer of Americans, today. Therefore, smoking is simply a faster way toward death. I encourage all of the people in the world, to really sit back and think about how much smoking really hurts not only yourself, but the people around you. We all want to make the world the safest environment; yet fumes from cigarettes continue to damage our planet. In closing, we shall no longer allow these misleading tobacco advertisements continue to lead us into making the decision to smoke. If people really stopped to evaluate these ads, they would see how ridiculous they actually are.
Works Cited Page
Heard , Wilda. “Info 101: Teens and Smoking.” The Seattle Public Education Examiner. 13 Oct. 2009. Clarity Digital Group LLC, Web. 17 Nov. 2009.
Longley, Robert. “Smoking Deaths Cost U.S. $92 Billion a Year.” U.S. Govern ment Info. July 2005. The New York Times Organization, Web. 17 Nov. 2009.
Oakley, Annie. “Health Care: How to save a quick $1 trillion.” The Tree of
Liberty. 3 Nov. 2009. Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd., Web. 17 Nov. 2009.