Collection: You're So Smart
Tobacco companies promote filters through ads which promised health reassurance, although filters do little to truly reduce the hazards of smoking. Indeed, industry chemists were well aware that most filters actually removed no more tar and nicotine than would the same length of tobacco! Nonetheless, Madison Avenue stepped up to the challenge of selling filters as the “intelligent choice” for smokers worried about their health. Campaigns like these appealed to smokers who considered themselves upper class and educated. The idea was that these smokers felt obliged to quit smoking due to overwhelming health concerns, so Big Tobacco would give them every excuse not to quit.
The ads within this theme use the slogan “You’re so smart to smoke Parliaments.” This slogan works on at least three levels. By using the words “so smart,” the ad (1) works to appeal to a buyer’s intelligence, (2) refers to Parliaments as the “smart,” safe choice, and (3) plays on the double-meaning of “smart” as also fashionable and chic. This all-encompassing word leant the campaign staying power. The health claims which come across through the “smart” campaign are reflective of the advertised recessed filter unique to Parliaments, which, the ad claims, ensures that “only the flavor touches your lips,” rather than any harsh chemicals. By appealing to the buyer’s intelligence and fashion sense, the ad goes further than health claims, dabbling in the realms of self-esteem and appearance, well-known techniques used by advertisements to manipulate women.