Collection: Virginia Slims Modern Ads
Virginia Slims is a cigarette brand developed by Philip Morris in 1968 and marketed exclusively to women. Its early advertising campaigns exploited civil rights movements of the ‘60s with the slogan, “You’ve come a long way, baby,” a slogan which has lasted into modern times. The brand’s advertising methods continue to present Virginia Slims as the choice for strong, independent, liberated women. The 1990s slogan “It’s a woman thing” and the slogan of the 2000s, “Find Your Voice,” both signify that empowerment and feminism remain key leveraging mechanisms for the brand. An ad from 1995, for example, features a man wearing an apron and preparing a meal in the kitchen as a woman hugs him, cigarette in hand; the text reads, “Equality comes with no apron strings attached.” Often, these ads distract from the position of power Big Tobacco itself holds over both sexes, by pitting women against society instead of against the tobacco industry.
Additionally, marketing for Virginia Slims harnesses the power of fashion. Many print advertisements portray women in fashion-forward outfits and make references to fashion: “I’m a skyhigh pair of platforms in a closet full of flats,” an ad from 2001 boasts. The cigarettes themselves are longer and narrower than average cigarettes, reflected by the name “Slims.” This adoption of the word “slim” and indeed, sometimes even “superslim,” is a clear reference to a woman’s figure. A slim, slender figure is often presented as more desirable in women’s fashion magazines and by models in the fashion industry. The Virginia Slims brand portrays a subliminal, indirect message that Virginia Slims cigarettes will result in its smokers obtaining or maintaining a slim figure.