Date: 1991
Brand: Virginia Slims
Manufacturer: Philip Morris
Campaign: Women's Liberation
Theme: Targeting Women
Keywords: Woman, female, empowerment, liberation, humor, adult, fashion
Quote: Virginia Slims remembers what makes women's bank accounts looked like in 1957.

Comment: This ad for Virginia Slims, a cigarette brand marketed exclusively to women, features a trendy businesswoman in a loud, orange ensemble, hands on hips and cigarette in hand. She is demonstrative of the forward progress women have made over the past few decades, and is contrasted with 1950s housewives. The text reads, Virginia Slims remembers what most women s bank accounts looked like in 1957, while the image shows a woman reaching into the top shelf of her pantry to grab a stashed jar of money. The ad seeks to raise an indignant response in women, sending the message that women have the right to smoke, just as they have a right to their own bank accounts. 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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