Date: 1989
Brand: Virginia Slims
Manufacturer: Philip Morris
Campaign: Women's Liberation
Theme: Targeting Women
Keywords: Woman, female, man, male, couple, marriage, empowerment, liberation, humor, adult
Quote: In 1904, Mrs. George Hubbard found a clever way to sneak a cigarette while her husband still got the attention he demanded.

Comment: This ad for Virginia Slims, a cigarette brand marketed exclusively to women, features a glamorous, sexy woman in a lacy evening gown, hair blowing and five-inch heels showing. She is demonstrative of the forward progress women have made over the past eight decades, and is compared to Mrs. George Hubbard of 1904, whose image and story are displayed in the upper left corner. The text reads, Mrs. George Hubbard found a clever way to sneak a cigarette while her husband still got the attention he demanded. Mrs. Hubbard is shown holding up a plywood cut-out of herself which hovers over her husband, as she stands in another room and puffs away on a cigarette. The implication is that when smoking, Mrs. Hubbard was exercising power and control over her husband, even if it was in a quiet, controlled way. The ad implies that now, women have more opportunities, but their cigarette still provides them with power. 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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