Date: 1999
Brand: Virginia Slims
Manufacturer: Philip Morris
Campaign: Women's Liberation
Theme: Targeting Women
Keywords: Male, Female, Slim, Weight, Health
Quote: When we ask what you love most about us, answer quickly.

Comment: This ad by Virginia Slims, a cigarette marketed exclusively to women, features a series of images which play out like a scene in a movie. A young woman is flirting with her boyfriend, and she asks him what he loves most about her. When he fails to answer quickly, she playfully pushes him into the pool in his beautiful, expensive suit. The ad reaches out to all women by using inclusive pronouns like us to refer to women as a whole. While the woman stands over the man on the edge of the pool, as he falls toward the water, she is clearly dominant, and yet she is still playful feminine in her little short dress and strappy high heeled shoes, especially in comparison to his power suit. The juxtaposition of power with femininity is a marketing ploy which tobacco companies exploit decade after decade.

Women's Liberation

One of the most common techniques tobacco companies employ in order to target women is women s liberation. Specifically, these advertisements show a woman in a position of power over a man, while being careful to keep the power-play light, carefree, and a bit flirtatious. The ads are prudent, hoping not to offend anyone while appearing to take sides, so to speak, with women. Often, these ads distract from the position of power Big Tobacco itself holds over both sexes, by pitting women against men instead of against Big Tobacco.

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