Thesis: Image

Pages: 5 (1617 words)  ·  Style: MLA  ·  Bibliography Sources: 3  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Business - Advertising  ·  Buy This Paper


One of the characteristics of the contemporary world is the constantly growing tendency to value not the things themselves, but their image. The life rhythm is faster and people have less and less attention that they can afford to pay to the messages coming from the environment they live in.

We are all heavy consumers. It is safe to say that we try to compensate for our various identity crises through acts of acquisition. And gone are the days when people were buying thing for their intrinsic properties. Cola and Pepsi are drinks with such a similar composition and taste, yet between them the identity differences are so big that you could find an entire ideology beyond their advertising ads.

The truth is that we are buying psychological characteristics. Or at least we try to. Products are no longer products, but elements belonging to brands. And brands are in fact identities, stronger or weaker, which try to sell us ideals, regardless of the fact if these ideals refer to our identity, out life style, the way we dress, what we eat, etc.

The role of advertising once was to communicate to people the fact that products existed and that they were endowed with certain characteristics. Now advertising builds brands up and tries to build us up as well. People are telling us and showing us what to buy, but in reality, through the power of their carefully built up speeches and the even greater power of images, they are telling us who we are supposed to be in order to become popular or to fit an ideal that they themselves create.

There are numerous brands which a very interesting history as far as their advertising campaigns are concerned. They have either maintained the same core identity or they have underwent fundamental changes in terms of positioning. These changes, when they occur are always caused by modifications people's needs and preferences. On the one hand, it can be stated that society influences the manner in which brands are created. They can not appear out of nowhere, there is always a starting point, a primary need that they can develop and respond to.

On the other hand, it is just as true that brands have the power to influence the public agenda and even create new identities. The advertising of detersives at the beginning of the twentieth century is a relevant example. Ads which were telling you that some whites are whiter than others and changed not only the view of the household, the work to be done within it, but also communicated something about the new status of the women.

One of the most interesting examples of how things in the world of advertising change is best represented by the Marlboro cigarettes. They initially came out as a product for women and ended up as one of the most important brands in the world selling products for the "real men." The evolution of the brand and its identity is to be analyzed taking into consideration several factors, such as the cultural and social ones.

The Marlboro cigarettes first came out in the 1920s. Philip Morris decided to introduce them as a product for women. The advertising ads represented a female hand reaching out for a cigarette while the slogan was "Mild as May." Popular female figures were used for radio advertising as well. "mild" and "may "are key words for the attitude that was to be associated with the woman smoking these cigarettes. The act of smoking was refined act, one that was actually roving the degree of femininity that one had.

The social and cultural elements favoured the consumption of cigarettes by women, especially young ones who would consider the gesture a symbol of rebellion and independence. By the 1950s the women in the advertising ads were replaced by babies who were telling their parents about how good a smoke was. This may seem outrageous nowadays when one thinks about the damaging consequences that cigarettes may have on a person's health, but at that time the knowledge in the filed, as well as people's preferences, supported by the fashionable trends were actually allowing for this kind of image-making.

The brand had to be taken off the market during world war II and after the war ended, the company had to face a different reality. First and foremost it had to deal with the fact that it was no longer the only cigarette brand on the market. Camel, Lucky Strike and Chesterfield represented serious competition. This is where the issue represented by positioning oneself on the brand map occurs.

In the meanwhile, Readers Digest published various articles letting the world know that cigarettes, regardless of their brand are more or less the same and more importantly, they represent a risk for people's health. In addition, an article linked smoking cigarettes to lung cancer. This changed everything. People were scared and started to abandon the cigarettes they would be smoking until then.

However, they remained with a nicotine addiction and had to continue smoking. This meant that they would consider other brands, new ones and this was the chance that Marlboro had to take. The problem was that it had previously sold itself as a brand for women and it was no longer the case the adapt the same strategy.

The smokers were now men and men did not think of taking into consideration cigarettes which were "mild as may." It was time to change things completely. This is a very relevant example regarding the manner in which the social and cultural changes influenced the modification of the brand. But how can you become someone/something else? With the use of a strong advertising campaign, naturally.

What the Marlboro company did is come up with a new advertising campaign, the "Tattooed man" one. Since it had to change the image that the company had created for itself, it used right the opposite figures: strong men who took life into their own hands. Out of all the suggested figures, the cowboy seemed to be the most successful one.

The period was characterised by a cultural trend which highly appreciated the cowboy figure and therefore it can be stated that the campaign had a very favourable launching context. In addition, it seems that the symbol of the cowboy found a strong emotional response from smokers everywhere around the world.

The cowboy stood not only for a strong man, but also for a healthy man, while Marlboro country was a sort of heaven on earth. Smokers started trusting the brand and sales went up 5000%, turning the company into one of the most successful ones in the world. This proves that people had a very strong need to believe that they could be that healthy strong men while continuing to satisfy their vice- that scientifically was proven to have a great harmful potential.

The mere introduction of the cowboy figure was not enough. The company came up with an entire education process for its customers. And it was indeed the cowboy who taught them about filters and explained which are the characteristics of high quality tobacco. But the advertising was not the only thing that helped the company achieve its success. The packaging also helped to boost sales. The red box became a symbol of independence and strength. Those who had it showed their belonging to a special group.

The campaign was so successful that after a while advertisements stopped using the taglines. The reputation of the brand had spread worldwide and the product was immediately recognizable.

How is it possible for a product to change so much and be so successful? The answer is that change helped to achieve success. In addition, it must be underlined that the choices that the company made were… [END OF PREVIEW]

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Cite This Thesis:

APA Format

Image.  (2009, May 5).  Retrieved August 20, 2019, from

MLA Format

"Image."  5 May 2009.  Web.  20 August 2019. <>.

Chicago Format

"Image."  May 5, 2009.  Accessed August 20, 2019.