Utilization of female image and body in advertising goes way back to the last decades of 19th century, when tobacco companies used to put collectible cards depicting women in eroticized manner in cigarette packs. They continued to objectivize women as sex objects all the way through 20th century and still do it today. The nature of such advertising has somehow changed due to numerous social transformations such as emancipation of women, gender equality acts, LGBT movements and others. However, this paper aims at analyzing two tobacco ads of relatively the same period and show both similar and contrasting points between them.
Figure 1 is a tobacco ad of 1969 for Tipalet cigarettes, depicting a woman with a man smoking a cigarette. Figure 2 is also a tobacco ad of 1974 which shows a woman with a pack of Camel cigarettes. Similarities between these two ads are quite apparent. Firstly, these are both tobacco campaign which were created with only 5 year difference. Secondly, both ads objectivize women as sexual objects and use attractive women in order to attract a consumer. The ads also have sexually suggestive texts on posters.
However, the target audience for 2 ads is different. While Tipalet targets men, Camel suggests that their cigarettes are for women. In Tipalet ad, tobacco company uses female image suggesting that men who smoke their cigarettes attract more beautiful women. A model on poster is overly-sexualized. She has deep cleavage, big parted lips and holds intense eye contact which arouses sexual desire in men. The slogan itself has sexual innuendo “Blow in her face and she follows you anywhere”. White smoke covering woman’s face also has its subliminal context. Tipalet ad has some sexist components as it gives leading, initiative, and confident role to the man and subdued one to the woman. She is depicted on background, while man is on foreground looking down on woman.
As Camel picked up faster on social changes, there is no sexism in its poster. Camel ad exploits female image in a different way. It imposes an image of a confident, successful, and beautiful woman. The model also possesses sexual attractiveness in order to lure men. Thus, the suggestive message here is that women who smoke Camel are attractive to men. Slogan “Would he walk a mile for me?” enhances this subliminal message. Although only model’s face is depicted, her image is also overly-sexualized. She has red hair and maintains intense eye contact (as well as model on Fig. 1), however, this time with the audience. Her big parted lips strengthen eroticism. We might also suggest that she tore the pack of cigarettes with her teeth. This together with red hair and red lips creates an image of passionate, ardent, and vehement woman, which is advertised as an especially attractive type to men.
Ads with sexual meaning can have a great impact on consumers and society in general. Modern advertising dictates that sex is everywhere, not just in the intimacy of private lives, and continues to exploit female images as sexual objects. It also makes sex a rather casual and par to the course issue. Its accessibility and abundance of idealized female images in adverts can have serious negative consequences for an individual perception of self, the opposite sex, and sexuality in general.
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