University of Chicago
Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter
Rhetorical Analysis on Vintage Ads
Appealing to someone’s emotions is how the tobacco companies get the big bucks. Lucky Strike Cigarettes first came about around the 1920s. Its motto was “Reach for a LUCKY instead of a sweet”. Which went on to say in the ad, “To keep a slender figure, No one can deny Lucky Strike. They are toasted so there is no throat irritation and no cough”. This ad was made to appeal to the average American woman in that era. Why were the average American women so fascinated with smoking? Did they not know that it caused cancer? Or was smoking back then more of an accessory rather than a need to be happy and healthy?
This ad was successful in targeting women because it specifically targeted women who were looking to be more independent and sexy. Back then smoking was more of an accessory much like a clutch bag to your little black dress today. It was just more appealing that it was said that it will help keep to keep you slender and sexy. This ad was very successful in appealing in appealing to a woman’s emotion, reasoning, and credibility. Much like the woman today, weight loss and /or maintaining a slim but sexy figure is still a huge topic of discussion. I believe that if women of today knew that they could smoke and lose weight without the chances of getting cancer all while looking sexy, smoking would be even more popular than what it is today. Back then ads like this did an awesome job in targeting women who wanted to look sexy and keep their slim figures or maybe even lose weight, but also believe that what they were doing was healthy.
Lucky Strikes slogan, “It’s Toasted” informed their consumers that their manufacturing method toasted their tobacco rather than sun drying it, making their cigarettes taste more desirable. This alone appealed to women because it told them that not only were cigarettes great for them, but that they
taste good as well.
When women gained the ability to vote in the 1920s it aroused a lot of things. The era of the “New Woman” if you will. Women started wearing heavy make-up, cutting their hair into short hair styles, wearing miniskirts, and most of all started drinking and smoking. The woman in the ad was all of those things. She appealed to be slender in size, dark haired with a short cut, make-up with bright red lips puckered as if blowing kisses, with a spaghetti strapped top or dress. All of which spoke to a woman’s inner sexy.
Lucky Strikes ad appealed to a woman’s self-esteem, her inner goddess, her wanting to become who she wasn’t or maintaining who she was. Lucky Strike’s cigarette’s appealed to women of the 1920s because it seemed to be a guarantee “sexy”. This ad I believe is the perfect example of Aristotle’s “Ingredients of Persuasion” otherwise known as “appeals”. Women of that era threw caution and their better judgment into the wind and made being sexy and slim one of the most important factors in a beautiful woman’s life.
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