Date: 1980
Brand: Virginia Slims
Manufacturer: Philip Morris
Campaign: Women's Liberation
Theme: Targeting Women
Keywords: Woman, female, fashion, empowerment, liberation, humor, young adult, fashion
Quote: Before skirts climbed to the knee, garters made a perfect hiding place for her cigarette.

Comment: This ad for Virginia Slims, a cigarette brand marketed exclusively to women, features a trendy woman, hand on hip and cigarette in hand. She is demonstrative of the forward progress women have made over the past few decades, and is contrasted with a 1920s woman. The text reads, Before skirts climbed to the knee, garters made a perfect hiding place for her cigarette, while the image shows a woman hiking up her skirt to pull out a cigarette from its hiding place. This ad implies that women no longer need to hide, but that they have always been smoking cigarettes. The modern lady s confidence, in addition to her extremely short hemline, speak to her freedom. 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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