Collection: Newport Pleasure
The ads in this theme reveal Newport’s most recent marketing techniques targeting teens and young adults. Newport has employed some form of these “Pleasure” advertisements since 1972. The Newport ads in this theme range from 1980 to present day and feature the “Newport Pleasure” or “Alive with Pleasure” campaign slogans. The latter slogan, “Alive with Pleasure,” provides the viewer with a subconscious health claim – the viewer immediately relates life and living with smoking, which pushes thoughts of death and tobacco-related disease away from the forefront of the viewer’s thoughts. Additionally, the “pleasure” aspect of this campaign is an important part of youth targeting, portraying Newports as fun and enjoyable and, subconsciously, sexy and sexual.
The models featured in the advertisements are often young, carefree, and attractive. Many of the ads contain happy couples either spending one-on-one time with each other or enjoying the company of another young couple. Additionally, these couples are usually taking part in some active scenario, like camping, or playing football, biking, or surfing. These activities again portray smoking as healthful, as the models in the advertisements are clearly healthy enough to lead an active lifestyle even though they smoke. Other activities include party or nightlife atmospheres, like sitting in a hot tub, singing karaoke, dancing in a nightclub, or watching a game at a sports bar. These scenarios work to target adolescents specifically. The social dynamics represented in these Newport ads, including groups of friends and couples, seek to normalize smoking among youth; the ads make smoking appear more pervasive and provide a perceived social approval and acceptance of the behavior. These advertisements are key in establishing a new smoker base for a tobacco company needing to replace smokers it has already lost due to smoking-related disease.
As of 2011, almost half of all 12- to 17-year-old smokers prefer menthols, while the total market share of menthols claims only 30% of all smokers (1). Additionally, according to one study conducted in 2006, 62.4% of middle school students who had smoked for less than a year tended to smoke menthols (2). Data like this has lead many experts, including the Tobacco Products Scientific Advisory Committee (TPSAC), to believe that the presence of menthols on the market increase the rate of smoking initiation. Confidential industry documents, since leaked to the public, reveal Newport’s comprehension of its target audience through its “pleasure” campaign, which is still used today. In particular, a 1978 memo identifies Newport’s success as a direct result of its consumer profile, which “shows this brand being purchased by black people (all ages), young adults (usually college age), but the base of our business is the high school student” (3). Just as the campaign itself has changed very little over the years, so has the company’s lack of remorse over the age of its consumers. In fact, a 1993 internal document identifies Newport as “the brand with the youngest adult smoker profile” (4).
1. Wilson, Duff. “Advisory Panel urges F.D.A. to re-examine menthol in cigarettes.” The New York Times. 18 March 2011.
2. Hersey J.C. et al. “Are menthol cigarettes a starter product for youth?” Nicotine & Tobacco Research. June 2006. 8:3;403-413.
3. Achev, T.L. “Product Information.” 30 Aug 1978.
4. “Newport 1993 Strategic Marketing Plan.” 25 Sept 1992.