This paper is an analysis of the history of cigarette advertising that was published in TIME magazine a couple of years ago. My main claim through this analysis focused on how subliminal messaging took place in cigarette advertising. After thinking about my own addiction as a smoker I believed that I was greatly influenced by my peers, but neglected the idea that advertising might have had something to do with it as well. Taking claims from our text and applying it to the article made me realize that advertising wasn’t something to factor out in my own addiction of smoking. At the very end of the article they make a claim about Obama being an ex smoker which kind of throw me for a loop considering the article was entitled “A Brief History of Cigarette Advertising.” Here is a pasted version of what I wrote:
Olstad, Scott. (2009, Jun. 15). “A Brief History of Cigarette Advertising.” Time. Web. 5 Feb. 2010.
Critical Analysis I
People for years have been addicted to smoking cigarettes. Unfortunately, I never got the chance to meet my real grandfather because he died of lung cancer before I was born. He was a smoker for many years and it was safe to say that his addiction caused his early death. Despite this sob story, I am a smoker myself. I started smoking my junior year of high school as a leisure activity with friends; riding around in our cars, listening to music, and having a “social cig.” For me it wasn’t cigarette advertising that made me start smoking. It was the constant exposure to people around me at parties drinking and smoking that got me addicted, not necessarily cigarette advertising, or so I think. Although after reading into the purpose behind advertising, I could have been effected with out even knowing.
After reading “A Brief History of Cigarette Advertising,” I learned that the FDA planned to get a bill passed allowing them to implement strict regulations on cigarette advertising. Sorry to say, I didn’t do any follow up research on this topic to see if it actually got passed. Although, the idea of this bill was to enable the FDA to enforce making warning labels larger and to eliminate “light” or “mild” on cigarette packs. And regulate where cigarette where being placed around communities. In earlier decades tobacco companies had full range on what they could do with their advertising. The article states that this was all before the general public knew the bad health effect of smoking. In the late 1800’s cigarette manufacturing went from hand rolling 40,000 cigarettes a day, to inventing a machine that could produce 4 million cigarettes daily (Olstad). Color lithography also contributed to cigarette advertising. They were able to revolutionize packaging and advertising. Different brands of cigarettes were now able to distinguish themselves from other brands. In some cigarette packs you would get trading cards depicting movie stars, famous athletes, and Indian Chiefs (Olstad). This is also found in advertising today, using a celebrity to sell a product because a lot of people idolize them. Cigarette advertising was also being endorsed by dentists, doctors, and babies. What is ironic about that is the effects of smoking are bad for your teeth, your health, and little kids. So having these main figures in ads sends us the message that dentists, doctors, and babies say its okay to smoke.
In our book the section entitled “Mindless Propaganda, Thoughtful Persuasion” clearly paints the picture that most advertising affects us in mindless states. After reading into this section it really made me realize that a lot decisions I do make when I buy things may not be really thought out. Though, I have been persuaded after seeing many food commercials on TV to go out and buy that product because it caught me at a time I was hungry. And I have to give it to the oxy clean guy; he really sold me on that and a lot of other people as well. But what this section made clear was if you ask someone why they bought a certain item they might not respond in saying that they were influenced by the advertising.
As the article continues, a statement was made saying that Joe Camel was more recognizable than Mickey Mouse. To me this is a very bold statement, and a great use of propaganda within the article. What really made me chuckle at the end of reading this article was this statement, “President Obama (who has struggled with his own nicotine addiction) lauded the bill, saying in a statement that its passage ‘truly defines change in Washington.’” I think our country has bigger problems, and cigarette advertising by no means, in my eyes, defines change in Washington. Ironically that statement ended the article.
As I continue learning in this class, I realize more and more that were are mind warped everyday to so many things that it is inevitable to escape types of persuasion. Propaganda is doing just that. Persuading us to pick sides on this subject or that subject; in matters of the article I read; we are constantly being persuaded by cigarette advertising. Or was the message of this article saying that passing such a bill is something that truly defines change in Washington, quoting our president who is an ex-smoker?
Feel free to comment. Here is also a link to the article if you want to read it: