Date: 1994
Brand: Virginia Slims
Manufacturer: Philip Morris
Campaign: Women in Sports
Theme: Targeting Women
Keywords: Female, Throat, African American, Slim, Weight

Comment: Famous tennis player, Martina Navratilova (1956-presentt), is pictured in this advertisement for the Virginia Slims Championships in 1994. The Women s Tennis Association (WTA) Tour Championships was sponsored by Virginia Slims from 1972-1978 and from 1983-1994, during which time the event was called the Virginia Slims Championships. At the WTA Tour, Navratilova won 12 doubles titles and 8 singles titles. During her career, Navratilova won 31 Grand Slam women s doubles, 18 Grand Slam singles and 10 Grand Slam mixed doubles titles. Virginia Slims cleverly sponsored the WTA Tour Championships at the time to increase connections between cigarettes and healthy female athletes. Navratilova claims she has always been a non-smoker.

Women in Sports

Tobacco companies often solicited endorsements from athletes to emphasize healthy, active lifestyles and tie these lifestyles in with their cigarettes. Additionally, well-known athletes could give the same kind of celebrity appeal as singers and actors, especially for teens and young adults. Sometimes, tobacco companies showed every-day people playing sports to create a connection among health, energy, athleticism, and cigarettes. Female athletes were highlighted as early as the 1920s (in this collection, a 1927 advertisement from Lucky Strike features a woman playing tennis with a man). Many of the female athletes who were selected to endorse cigarette brands played sports that could be considered feminine: tennis and table tennis, ice skating, swimming and diving, golf, and skiing. Some of the modern ads feature women playing more manly sports, like basketball or football, with their boyfriends, or show a woman playing billiards in an attempt to entice young men to the brand.

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