Date: 1982
Brand: Virginia Slims
Manufacturer: Philip Morris
Campaign: Women's Liberation
Theme: Targeting Women
Keywords: Woman, female, empowerment, liberation, humor, adult, circus
Quote: Miss Louise Griffin forgot the rules of decent society when she smoked a cigarette at the 1910 Cappelli Bros. circus. But elephants never forget.

Comment: This ad for Virginia Slims, a cigarette brand marketed exclusively to women, features a glamorous, trendy woman running her fingers through her hair with the same hand she uses to hold her cigarette. She is demonstrative of the forward progress women have made over the past seven decades, and is compared to Miss Louise Griffon of 1910, whose image and story are displayed in the upper left corner. The text reads, Miss Louise Griffin forgot the rules of decent society when she smoked a cigarette at the 1910 Capelli Bros. circus. But elephants never forget. A clown sprays poor Miss Griffin with water from an elephant s trunk after she takes a puff from her cigarette. The ad seeks to raise an indignant response in women, sending the message that women have the right to smoke, and that it is a liberating experience. The ad implies that now, women have more opportunities and the ability to smoke cigarettes is one of their rights. 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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