1. Several cultural and social values are presupposed by the 1920s-1930s era Lucky Strike advertisement. The image presented, a woman riding a jumping horse followed by a large man also on a horse sets the viewer up for the language and text of the advertisement itself. For example, she is a slender, well-dressed woman in full color, while the man who is following her is dark, in silhouette, and morbidly overweight compared to the woman. She is ahead of the man; the image presents them as opposites. She is getting away from him and things that are like him. The picture sets her up as a woman who is moving away from undesirable things that are unfeminine, such as obesity and appearing masculine. As the viewer reads the text, the image creates an immediate impression of femininity, moving forward, and success that Lucky Strike wants her to associate with its brand.
This image presupposes that women see themselves as achievers, getting ahead and having exciting lives because they are slender, fit, active, and therefore attractive. The text of the advertisement makes clear how Lucky Strike connects with its intended audience. “When tempted to overindulge” it advises, “Reach for a Lucky instead.” The advertisement presupposes that moderation is a value that women have.
Another way the language is used by the brand is to refer to itself by a nickname, “Luckies.” This use of language, giving the product a nickname, supposes that people have a familiarity with it, that is well known enough to have a nickname, and the nickname has a positive connotation word that people want to associate themselves with.
2. The specific target audience for the Lucky Strike advertisement is women. It motivates its target audience, women, to act, by presenting a problem and offering a solution. The problem presented is overindulgence. With the assumption that women want to appear as feminine as possible with qualities such as slenderness and youthfulness, it presents the idea that exactly how to retain these qualities is a problem most women struggle with and that Lucky Strike has found a solution. The advertiser suggests with words that overindulgence is possible in all things, including eating and smoking. Lucky Strikes presents itself as a moderate brand in comparison to others. “Be moderate—be moderate in all things, even smoking . . . reach for a Lucky instead” it suggests. It presents its difference from other cigarettes as resulting from “an extra, secret heating process” which makes it less irritating to the throat. The advertiser knows that some women may be having doubts about whether smoking is feminine or not, and implies that other brands may, indeed, have qualities that are not as “moderate” as others which could negatively impact the image of a woman. The advertiser includes the information that “heat purifies,” “20,679 physicians say that Luckies are less irritating to your throat,” and that these cigarettes are “Your Throat Protection . . . against cough.” By providing very specific sounding information as well as addressing some of the top concerns of women about smoking, Lucky Strike promotes itself as a brand that will instead find solutions for one of the most difficult problems women face, staying feminine and attractive.
3. The worldview of the target audience is one in which a woman sees herself as having increasing power and control in life. The world of this woman is one in which she has recently attained the right to vote; the success of women’s suffrage allowed women to place a greater value on their own opinions and ability to make decisions. It is interesting that the ad presents a woman as a jockey or as a sportswoman, because horseracing was a traditionally male-dominated game. Lucky Strike assumes that the woman viewing this advertisement values her new role in society, and that she is unwilling to give up any of her femininity to embrace her new political power. The woman to whom this advertisement appeals values being able to “take the reins” or have control, make informed decisions, and to look good all at the same time.
There is a definite connection between this advertisement and Marchand’s Parables in that the advertisement purports to have a solution to a problem. The word “moderation” in this advertisement is part of a code for femininity. It promotes the idea that the advertiser understands that women struggle with the problem of how to live moderately and to remain feminine, and that this is a simple solution to that problem.
4. Cigarette companies have more restrictions placed on their advertising today, so it is more difficult to find examples of how cigarettes are advertised today. A Newport advertisement from 2012 depicts a happy couple laughing, the man holding the woman in the air as she holds a football. The two main words on the page, in bright orange, are “Newport” and “pleasure!” Compared to the Lucky Strike cigarette advertisement, the Newport cigarette advertisement relies much more on images and less on text. Very little of the text discusses the advantages of the product besides “pleasure.” Much of the text is dedicated to fulfilling the legal responsibilities required by the Food and Drug Administration and the company it is choosing to advertise with, such as the surgeon general’s warning and age limitations for the product. Cigarette companies, bound by these limitations and common knowledge that cigarettes are dangerous to people’s health, therefore choose to visually capitalize on the type of person who uses their product or an image of the type of person they advertise to wants to be.