Thank You For Smoking


Here is my group’s Philip Morris ad pitch, which we will present in class tomorrow.

My group had a very productive brainstorming session during class time last week and, though it was difficult to coordinate our schedules, we corresponded through the week, each contributing in terms of ideas, structure, and the actual labor of finding images other materials to compile into our Powerpoint. It seems that one of the biggest areas where smoking still holds a sense of sex appeal and cool is in the context of Hollywood glamour, as part of a sort of jetset lifestyles that evokes a sort of old-Hollywood glamour. I found some old Philip Morris print ad images which drew on this very appeal, and by setting our ad in a Manhattan cocktail bar, we sought to draw on some of these associations of “better”, “simpler”, more “glamourous” days gone by, but with a modern face lift. We also wanted to acknowledge modern realities by showing a sense of understanding of the current economic climate in our country, so we decided to try to sell Philip Morris as a brand which would help transport you out of the grim or mundane realities of your lower middle class existence into a more glamorous, carefree version of yourself–drawing on the appeal of a sort of escapism in hard times. We decided that highlighting a man around 30 would allow us to appeal to those both somewhat younger and somewhat older than that age. This person is relatable–attractive, but with an everyman quality. Though cigarettes cannot be shown in the ad, so we want to evoke an atmosphere which suggests smoking–a dimly lit bar, with alcohol consumption, etc. The slogan we came up with is “Times are hard…dream big. Philip Morris, taking you places.”

It’s a little bizarre trying to get inside the minds of people who are purposefully marketing deadly products to people who probably can’t even afford them, but in a way I think by working with a product that I have no interest in and am not seduced by, it was easier to objectively consider the process that goes into constructing the messages.


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