By: Tim Riney
Ad’s are created for one reason, to manipulate. When a company hires people to make an ad for them they want it to be as persuasive as possible. Even if sometimes that means mis-representing the truth. The product that the ad is advertising can even be detrimental to your health, yet the ad makes it look like it can really help your life out. An example of one such ad that tries to paint an ugly product in a good picture is the Kool cigarette “B Kool” ad campaign. The ad campaign is successful in manipulating the true impact of the product on the person smoking it. It takes only one topic and runs with it, while leaving many more important topics out.
The article does a great job of down playing the negative effects and shifting the viewpoint of the ad to strictly positive aspects. It’s obvious that cigarettes are bad for you (there is even a surgeon generals warning down at the bottom of the ad). How ever in the ad you do not see anything about how bad cigarettes truly are for you. In the ad I chose from the campaign there is a beautiful girl riding at the back of a scooter, there is a man driving the scooter. The woman on the back, however, is look back at a man who is holding a pack of kool cigarettes. In my experience every choice a guy makes in his life is to attempt to attract a female. So its obvious that if a female seems to be completely distracted from another guy because there is someone near her smoking cigarettes, the man might think about buying that product. This is the positive aspect of the product. Like the name implies, a lot of people think that smoking is cool. Some girls might be attracted to smoking because of the “bad boy” image it personifies. No only is the attention of the girl a useful tool in the image manipulation of the product but the way she is turning helps also. The women is on a scooter with another man, one can assume they’re together, I am sure that was the goal of the makers of this ad. If a man can choose a product that will make girls take notice of them even when their with their man, they will obviously choose that. It makes the product that much “cooler” because you’re “stealing” another man’s girl.
Along with down playing the negative affects of the product the ad uses other rhetoric to get its message across. The color green is used for the pack in the man’s hand. The most common association with that color is nature, when people see green they think of health or vitality. Also the ad has a certain green undertone, it gives the entire ad a happy, healthy feeling. The ad company would want the viewer of the ad to associate health and nature with smoking because the truth is much worse. Smoking kills and hurts nature, but using the color green gives the ad a different feeling then that. The way that “B Kool” is written is another way the ad tries to connect with its target audience. The phrase “B Kool” is written in a spray paint writing using a cut out to form the phrase. The target audience being a younger generation, it makes sense that the company would try to use a “hip” script. The script that the phrase is in makes even more sense with the background. The ad is set in what looks like New York or a city like it. New York has been known to be a epi-center of fashion and style. Setting this in New York is a good idea because it connects with a large audience of people trying to be “cool” in a big city. The cigarette almost seems to be a way in with certain people, according to this ad. Even the guy driving the scooter helps the message of the ad. He looks like what most girls would call a “bad boy”. If the girl of a “bad boy” is looking back at you then you must be pretty cool to draw that kind of attention, or the ad would have you think. This is the obvious cognation of the “bad boy” guy riding the scooter. The people that made this ad could have put anyone on the back of that scooter but it wouldn’t have quite the same effect. This way the man holding the pack of cigarettes looks like an even “badder boy” because the girl with the guy on the scooter is looking at him.
There are many aspects that this ad downplays in order to raise the image of the product and make it more appealing to the viewer. One such aspect is the risk of catching a deadly disease. To be completely truthful with people the ad would have to show the health effects smoking has. Although in ads you can only capture one time period, the viewer should be made aware of the health risks. Furthermore, the ad over exenterates the interest of the women in the ad. Although some girls might find smokers attractive, a vast majority of girls do not like smokers. A lot of negative effects come from smoking yellow teeth, bad breath, and quick aging faces are all long term effects of smoking. I am not a girl but I think it is safe to say that many girls would not find these qualities attractive.
In the ad the target audience is that of younger males. The woman is around the age of twenty-one to twenty-five. This is around the age of legal smokers so it makes sense that they would target their main audience. Attacking an older generation of smokers is not a smart move because by a certain age if you aren’t already addicted to cigarettes it’s a safe bet you’ll be staying away from them forever. They need to appeal to the generation that is still young and fresh. In my anti-ad to this advertisement I chose to target the same audience that the cigarette companies target. It’s my goal to bring about the truth of the cigarettes to the audience that is being manipulated by these ads trying to make cigarettes “cool”. Much like the ad company if I made the appeal to older generations it would already be to late. No point of trying to get people who have already become addicted to smoking to believe that the product hurts them.
The main focal point of my adivertisment is the girl on the scooter. This is the most obvious things to spoof because it is the first thing that draws the readers attention. Another reason why this is the main image I spoofed is because it was the ads man ploy to make the product seem appealing. Spinning it and making that the negative part of the advertisement will help me get my message across. The next image that I used in my anti ad is the mans hand and pack of cigarettes. Messing with the actual apperance of the product can turn people off. If you make the carton unappealing then maybe people will not show as much interest in the cigarettes them selves. Also I showed some of the some health effects on the hand and the girls face, adding yellow and aging the faces to show what smoking can do. The girls face was changed to more accurately show what being around a smoker or smoking your self can do to you. I added wrinkles because according to the Mayo Clinic “Smoking can speed up the normal aging process of your skin, contributing to wrinkles.” Also I changed her teeth from the normal color, white, to the more appropriate color for a smoker, yellow. This is all in attempt to discourage young females from picking up cigarettes in the first place. Young girls will be put off by something that will eventually make them ugly. From my knowledge beauty is a big aspect in a girls life, this is why this technique will be effective in combating the cigarette ad. The mans hand was changed by adding aging to it and also by changing the finger nails yellow. It’s common knowledge that smoking affects your body in every way. Even your nails turn yellow because of this. I used this in my ad because I want to inform the young people looking at this ad that nothing good comes from smoking. The pack of cigarettes was changed into a pack with a skull and cross bone pack. If something on the shelf of a gas station looks like poison it would most likely turn away a lot of people. This is one of the key points in my anti-ad. The pack being turned into a skull and cross bone pack might finally persuade someone into realizing that cigarettes are noting more then a box of poison. If they finally make the connection then my ad will successfully accomplish its goal.
Cigarette companies are all trying to do the same thing, make a buck. They don’t care about you or your loved ones. They sell the story short. Ad after ad comes out where people are holding a cigarette and having a good time or some girl is looking over the smokers way. Cigarette ads are dead set on getting you into a product by selling the “coolness” of it. Their one-sidedSmoking can speed up the normal aging process of your skin, contributing to wrinkles. slant ads work amazingly well. If we were to go on just by what the ads told us, we would all be smoking cigarettes. Why wouldn’t you? They always look like the people having the most fun or getting the girl. No way anyone could turn that down. But that’s how they get you in. They draw you in with all the flash and the “coolness” of the product but forget to tell you everything about it. The health effects of the product make it a surprise that anyone would every try it. It’s almost criminal that these companies are allowed to run ads without having to warn people that it could potentially kill them. There are surgeon general warnings, however it would be another story to see an image of a man with a hole in his throat telling you how cigarettes are “cool”.
Cigarette ads are extremely persuasive. They use many different techniques to draw a person in. Although many techniques are used, one overlaying theme can be agreed upon. The ad always tells half the story, be it by misrepresenting the truth or flat out leaving out one side of the story. Cigarette companies will stop at nothing to get people into their product. The ruthless onslaught can only be combated but informing people with the truth, giving the other side of the story.
“Quit Smoking.” Mayo Clinic. http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/smoking/AN00644, 24 Oct. 2009. Web. 15 Nov. 2009.