2008-03-05

Striking it lucky?


In the same magazine as the Salem and Camel ads discussed above was this ad for Lucky Strike Cigarettes. It is seemingly yet another innocuous ad, simply depicting an everyday scene in a bar. However, note that the individuals displayed are anonymous. In fact, so far as the ad is concerned, as individuals, they are completely unimportant. The woman is apparently simply a sex object for the equally anonymous, smoking, male. Any viewer, male or female could identify with the predatory male or the seductive female. The shape of her left breast is also mimicked by her thrust forward left knee. A 'nice pair' as Gear, Maxim or any other lads magazine would comment. There are also features in the ad that would indicate that the male smoker has apparently just 'struck lucky'. Look at the smoke curling up from his cigarette (see the enlarged section of the ad below). The lower section is quite clearly formed into the shape of a young woman wearing a short skirt. Above this figure there is a 'ball' of smoke and embedded in the ball' are criss-cross shapes that can be interpreted as various sized letters, superimposed upon one another. The most obvious 'letters' are SEX. The overall message of this ad, although oblique and indirect, is clearly intended to indicate to young males that sexual conquest is likely if they smoke Lucky Strike Cigarettes. This message is simply reinforcement of a message that runs across a whole series of Lucky Strike Cigarettes ads. Another Lucky Strike Cigarettes ad can be found on the Gatwick Trilogy page. If one analyses ads such as this, noting the individual elements and features, rather than simply 'taking in' the ad as a whole, there are other semi-subliminal features that can generally be noted. Each feature is calculated to enhance the likelihood that viewers will internalize the key elements of the intended message (or messages). In this case one can also note that to the rear of the young mans left knee, embedded on his jeans, is a 'face' with a large gaping mouth and two beady eyes. The nose is only hinted ad but it is just above the mouth, where a moustache would normally be. This can be taken as a reminder that smoking is an oral activity. Reminders of orality are also common in Marlboro ads. A perceptive viewer might also discern another criss-cross patchwork of 'lettering' above the mouth. The combination of these elements constitute a salutary, if semi-subliminal, reminder that smoking and sex are activities calculated to relieve anxiety and manage moods. And, despite the brand related caption, An American Original, there is nothing original about such an association. Freud and other psychoanalytically inclined researchers noted this many years ago. Their application has always provided advertisers with levers to exploit the fallibility's and weaknesses of potential and actual customers. Their use in semi-subliminal advertising indicates that theories and techniques developed by psychologists and others will now be applied regardless of whether their application it is ethical or note. The ad discussed above seems to be one of a long line of Lucky Strike Cigarettes ads that have incorporated semi-subliminal elements. Illustrated here are two ads shown in Stephen Bayley's book The Lucky Strike Cigarettes Packet by Raymond Loewy. One dates back to 1926, the other is more recent and is dated at 1980. The 1926 ad seems to be pretty innocuous, as is the case with most of these ads. But one simply needs to look more carefully at the different elements of the pattern around the cigarette packet to see that quite a large portion of it is composed of letters. To the top left of the packet is a clear S to the mid right is a clear E. To the bottom left of the pack is an apparent collage of letters. On this reproduction it is not possible to detect a clear X but it seems, nevertheless, that this ad was trying to produce an association between sex and Lucky Strike Cigarettes.

2 комментария:

Saima комментирует...

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Blogger комментирует...

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