Date: 1999
Brand: Virginia Slims
Manufacturer: Philip Morris
Campaign: Women's Liberation
Theme: Targeting Women
Keywords: Woman, female, man, male, couple, dating, empowerment, liberation, humor, young adult, teen
Quote: If men were really like their personal ads, they wouldn't need personal ads.

Comment: This advertisement for Virginia Slims, a cigarette marketed exclusively to women, welcomes women into a chat between two girlfriends concerning the way men misrepresent themselves in personal ads. The girls peruse the newspaper section together, while one smokes a cigarette (which noticeably doesn t push her best friend away). In the upper-left hand corner, an image of what is supposedly a sexy bad boy is compared to the image in the bottom right, which shows the man for what he is really like nerdy. The ad acts as an inside joke which also provides women with a false sense of empowerment; It suggests that women have the ability to see right through the smoke and mirrors of a personal ad, but it s interesting to think that this advertisement is itself a personal ad for Virginia Slims

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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