Date: 1973
Brand: Virginia Slims
Manufacturer: Philip Morris
Campaign: Women's Liberation
Theme: Targeting Women
Keywords: Woman, female, empowerment, liberation, humor, political, Mount Rushmore, young adult, teen
Quote: On Father's Day. Virginia Slims reminds you that founding fathers could not have been founding fathers without founding mothers.

Comment: This ad for Virginia Slims, a cigarette brand marketed exclusively to women, places a young woman s face between Thomas Jefferson s and Theodore Roosevelt s on Mount Rushmore. The ad was printed around Father s Day, and the message reads, founding fathers couldn t have been founding fathers without founding mothers. This every-day woman looks much too young to be a mother, with a large bow atop her head and her simple short hair, but the message is the same: women are just as important, or more important, than men. Virginia Slims manipulates women into believing that the brand is modern, forward-thinking, and supportive of women s liberation. 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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