Advertising and Its Effects on Children
By Sarah Hammer
Did you know
that approximately three thousand young people start smoking everyday
and that about 90% of smokers that continue to smoke later on in life
start before the age of twenty-one?? As much as Phillip Morris would like
to deny the fact that their product
is not geared towards young people, at least to a certain extent, they
can't, because it is. My project focuses on how cigarette advertisers
in general attract younger audiences, and then I will relate that to how
Marlboro specifically attracts younger people. Also, my project will cover
how the Marlboro campaign was used "as is" or altered in foreign
countries to cater to teenagers.
Cigarette advertisers very deliberately and obviously focus on attracting
younger people to smoke. They link cigarette smoking with coolness, taking
risks, and growing up. They associate cigarettes with rebellion and independence.
What young adult struggling for an identity is not going to want to be
a part of this type of group? Another tactic that advertisers use is free
giveaways. They giveaway entire pacts of
cigarettes to people in and around clubs and music venues. Camel even
has something called Camel Cash which convinces kids to buy their cigarettes
in order to obtain free items, such as flip-flops and plastic sunglasses.
The items are juvenile and obviously convince younger people to buy. Advertisers
of cigarettes sponsor rock concerts and sporting events. These are generally
attended by the younger population and it really gets the cigarette's
name out to people. The advertising to younger people is not always so
"innocent" though. Some things that the advertisers do are quite deceitful
and conniving. Cigarette advertisers will go so far as to sponsor "Helping
youths say no to tobacco" programs. Ironically these programs encourage
kids to smoke because it glamorizes smoking as "adult." Children want
to be grown up so obviously they are drawn in. On the same lines of deceit
as these programs are the articles that are so often written in magazines
in order to address cancer. All people, but especially children, rely
on the media for information, but the media is censored. Cigarettes so
often advertise in magazines so in order to keep the advertiser's business,
the magazines "omit" important information about the hazards of smoking
in their articles. Children learn at a young age that smoking is "bad",
but at the same time, the media has a
huge influence on their actions.
Phillip Morris specifically attracts younger people in many ways. One
incredibly obvious example of this is in the fact that they changed the
packaging on the Marlboro lights to a gold package. The reasoning behind
this is that gold is associated with moderness and freshness, unlike the
old packaging, which people just associated with their parents and didn't
want to have anything to do with. The Marlboro Country and Marlboro Man
campaigns are anti authoritarian and represent an uncomplicated period
of American life. Picture a rugged, natural man on an open plain with
only his horse and the sunset. He represents the free-spirit and he doesn't
need to answer to anyone. These are the ideals that children and young
adults strive for in life, so they specifically are pulled into purchasing
Marlboro Cigarettes. Another aspect of the Marlboro campaign that is geared
towards younger people is the Adventure team. This is a group of 10 people
that are sponsored by Marlboro to basically live on the edge. They go
out and rock climb, bike, car race, and do other dangerous activities
wearing the Marlboro name. Children see that and think to themselves,
"Wow. They are cool and they are wearing Marlboro gear. I want to be just
like them." It is a sneaky process, but it gets children into the product.
On an international level Marlboro also does things to attract younger
people. In Argentina the cowboy campaign
was not successful, so they have a campaign called the Formula One campaign.
This campaign uses "famous" people to
get the word out about Marlboro. The "famous" people used are usually
sports figures that are familiar to the younger Argentinean population.
The campaign was described by Arguelles, an Argentinean Marlboro worker
as, "a world of adventure, emotion, and competition." Universally, these
are characteristics that younger people want to embody.