Advertising for Men: Cigarette Advertisements
While, in the interwar years, most consumer goods had been aimed at a female market (even if it didn’t earn the money to pay for them), by the 1950s men had become, increasingly, the target for the ad-men of Madison Avenue. People honestly believed that smoking cigarettes were, while maybe not good for you, at least would not have harmful effects. The cigarette industry was in what is now referred to as its “Golden Age.”
A wide range of supremely “masculine” goods – from cars to eleetric shavers to cigarettes showed that the male species was as susceptible as women to the none-too-subtle tacties of the advertisers. The ads stressed the importance of self-reliance, strength and, above all, sophistication. Many of the masculine role models of the decade, visible in the ads, originated in the cinema.
Whereas cigarette ads tended to focus on the enjoyment of leisure hours, advertising for men located its image increasingly in the world of work, with the male shown to be in control of his office or workshop environment.
In 1971, cigarette ads were completely banned from television and seventeen years later, the tobacco industry first paid damages to the widow of a cigarette smoker. The industry began to seriously consider ways in which to continue appealing to potential smokers while dealing with the now well-established fact that smoking caused cancer. Since then, we have seen a great decline in pro-smoking and cigarette advertising, mainly for health reasons.
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