Alcohol and Cigarette Advertising Term Paper

Pages: 7 (1951 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: ≈ 8  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Sports - Drugs

Alcohol and Cigarette Advertising

Alcohol and tobacco are among the most heavily advertised products within the media industry, including magazine, newspaper, broadcast, and outdoor advertising (Pfleger Pp). According to a 2001 report, the six major tobacco companies spend approximately $6 billion annually on advertising and promotion in the United States alone (Pfleger Pp). Measured media is roughly $800 million a year for beer, $321 million for liquor, and $120 million for wine, and if sponsorships and promotions were added, these numbers would likely increase (Pfleger Pp). Despite legislation to curb tobacco and alcohol advertising, especially to youths, the companies are still getting their messages across to their targets.

Following the broadcast ban on tobacco advertising in 1971, magazines have become an important medium for tobacco companies, who in 1999 is reported to have spent approximately $443 million on magazine advertising (Lancaster Pp). Research suggests that because magazines are targeted specifically to particular demographic groups, it is easier for advertisers, especially tobacco companies, to reach various segments of the population, including women and children (Lancaster Pp).Download full
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TOPIC: Term Paper on Alcohol and Cigarette Advertising Assignment

As tobacco advertising campaigns became more targeted, smoking rates among targeted groups tend to increase, for example, tobacco companies began targeting women in the mid-1920's as more women began smoking and this trend strengthened in the 1960's when tobacco companies developed special marketing campaigns designed specifically for women (Lancaster Pp). Many believe that this same logic can be applied to targeting youth, as young people who report being aware of tobacco promotions are likely to be more susceptible to using tobacco products and begin smoking (Lancaster Pp). Moreover, cigarette ads use images of adventure, risk, and recreation, all of which tend to diminish perceived risks of smoking (Lancaster Pp). A 1998 study of the association between receptivity to tobacco advertising and promotion and the initiation of smoking "concluded that there is a positive relationship between the two variables and that exposure to cigarette advertising can influence non-smokers to begin smoking and become addicted to cigarettes" (Lancaster Pp).

Several studies have suggested that tobacco advertisers use magazines that reach children and young adults and others further argue that there is indeed a relationship between exposure to tobacco advertising and smoking among teens (Lancaster Pp). For example, one study found a positive relationship between cigarette brand selection and exposure to brand advertising among teenagers (Lancaster Pp). Joe Camel advertisements have been controversial for many years and several studies suggest that children are likely to recognize the Joe Camel character and associate it with cigarettes and some of the most heavily cited studies suggest that six-year-olds are more likely to recognize Joe Camel than Mickey Mouse, "and that recognition of a trade character is positively associated with age" (Lancaster Pp).

While the major symptoms of addiction are dependence and powerlessness, advertisements for alcohol and tobacco stress freedom, independence, control and power, and divert attention by portraying the smoker or drinker as an independent man or woman who "dares to defy public opinion, to stand on his or her own" (Kilbourne Pp). Heavy drinking and smoking was once considered the province of men and were regarded as emblems of masculinity, however it did not take long for the alcohol and tobacco industries to recognize the potential for increased profits if they could expand the market to include women (Kilbourne Pp).

In 1929 American Tobacco hired the "father of public relations," Edward Bernays, to promote cigarette smoking by women (Kilbourne Pp). Bernays hired ten women to march with the suffragists in the New York City Easter Parade and to smoke Lucky Strikes, "asserting that their cigarettes were 'torches of freedom'" (Kilbourne Pp). This was reported as news rather than as an advertising campaign, and thus the link between cigarette and female independence was born and the cigarette became a symbol of liberation and independence for women in the 1920's (Kilbourne Pp).

Although it will probably never be possible to determine exactly the effects of advertising on smoking or drinking, yet "there is no comparison group, no group that has not been affected by the bombardment...and also too many co-varying events" (Kilbourne Pp). However, it does seem safe to say that advertising played an important role in creating a climate in which cigarette smoking by women was seen as normal, acceptable, and even desirable, thereby encouraging women to smoke (Kilbourne Pp).

Many scholars believe that advertising is directly responsible for bringing women into the cigarette market, resulting in women smokers increasing in greater and greater numbers (Kilbourne Pp). In fact today, the only group in society in which cigarette smoking is increasing is young girls and the American Cancer Society reports that girls under the age of eleven have become the largest new group of smokers; twenty percent of female high school graduates smoke, compared to ten percent of males (Kilbourne Pp).

Alcohol-related problems are rising among today's youth, the average age at which people begin drinking alcohol is twelve and according to a national Weekly Reader survey, thirty percent of fourth graders have experienced peer pressure to drink alcohol, moreover, as many as one in five American teenagers, aged fourteen to seventeen, may be a problem drinker (Kilbourne Pp).

Alcohol and cigarettes are among the most heavily advertised products, spending well over two billion tax-deductible dollars a year on advertising (Kilbourne Pp). Anheuser-Busch's annual budget for Budweiser alone is greater than the entire federal budget for the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, and the government spends less than one million dollars on public service announcements and pamphlets concerning the dangers of smoking (Kilbourne Pp).

Although advertising does not cause addiction, alcohol and cigarette advertising does create a climate in which attitudes towards these products is presented as normal, appropriate, and innocuous (Kilbourne Pp). Society as a whole tends to deny the disease of addiction and support the alibi system of the addict, and advertising encourages this denial by creating a world in which myths about addiction are presented as true while signs of trouble are erased or transformed into positive attributes (Kilbourne Pp).

The average American is exposed to over 1,500 advertisements daily and will spend eighteen months of his or her life watching television commercials, and the influence of advertising is cumulative and mostly unconscious, for example the link between cigarettes and low weight (Kilbourne Pp). In 1928 Lucky Strike ads said, "To keep a slender figure, no one can deny...Reach for a Lucky instead of a sweet" (Kilbourne Pp). Although advertisers could never get away with such an overt message today, they do however use extremely thin models and ad copy that includes words such as "slim" or slender," such as Virginia Slims (Kilbourne Pp). And a recent campaign for Capri cigarettes featured an attractive young woman with the copy heading, "The slimmest slim in town" (Kilbourne Pp). No wonder smoking is on the increase among preteen and teenage girls, "a group especially susceptible to obsessions with weight" (Kilbourne Pp).

Advertising is basically myth-making, establishing an image for the product, rather than conveying information about the product and this is accomplished by linking the product with a quality or attribute (Kilbourne Pp).

An article in Advertising Age on liquor marketing stated that product image is probably the most important element in selling liquor.

The trick for marketers is to project the right message in their advertisements to motivate those often motionless consumers to march down to the liquor store or bar and exchange their money for a sip of image" (Kilbourne Pp).

This myth-making is always deceptive and often harmful, and although the links are generally false and arbitrary, society is so surrounded by them that they come to accept them as logical and natural and convinces the addict that products, such as alcohol and cigarettes, are benevolent and essential (Kilbourne Pp). More importantly, the advertising spuriously links cigarettes and alcohol with precisely those attributes and qualities:

happiness, wealth, prestige, sophistication, success, maturity, athletic ability, virility, creativity, sexual satisfaction, and others that addiction usually diminishes and destroys"

Kilbourne Pp).

Another ad boasts, "Not every man can handle Metaxa," thus linking powerful men with heavy drinking, and thereby drinking becomes a way to prove one's manhood (Kilbourne Pp). Power is defined as success, and power is also control over others, and these ads often feature a very dominant image of masculinity (Kilbourne Pp).

Moreover, alcohol advertisers often target powerless groups in society and offer alcohol to them as a route to power, for example, young people are heavily targeted and told that alcohol can transform them into sophisticated and mature adults, and also implies that it will give them courage and the ability to deal with challenges (Kilbourne Pp).

Alcohol and tobacco companies spend millions of dollars supporting organizations such as the National Black Caucus, the National Association of Hispanic Journalists, and the National Women's Political Caucus (Kilbourne Pp). In 1989, Phillip Morris was the second largest advertiser in the Hispanic media, and was named company of the year by the National Association of Hispanic Publications, and… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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How to Cite "Alcohol and Cigarette Advertising" Term Paper in a Bibliography:

APA Style

Alcohol and Cigarette Advertising.  (2004, November 15).  Retrieved January 18, 2022, from

MLA Format

"Alcohol and Cigarette Advertising."  15 November 2004.  Web.  18 January 2022. <>.

Chicago Style

"Alcohol and Cigarette Advertising."  November 15, 2004.  Accessed January 18, 2022.