In Reply to: Confusing the Customer posted by Alexandra Polly on December 6, 2001 at 18:35:14:
You're right, and it's not surprising how many teenagers smoke with the kind of publicity smoking gets. The negative messages go in one ear and out the other, and people take in the subtle positive messages that ads reveal about smoking. Look at how many movies geared toward younger populations have the enviable characters smoking cigarettes left and right. I'm sure people start smoking at a young age to fit in without the least bit of a concern that they'll become addicted. The media knows how naive young people are, however, and takes advantage of how impressionable they are.
: In class today it was mentioned that one way cigarette companies have stayed in the market though they are unhealty is by confusing the customer. Some of the things mentioned were showing them conflicting evidence in journals and the ad campaign geared to women. These are very cohersive means used by the cigarette companies to maintain their consumers. These conflicting ideas allow the smoker to be given excuses to continue smoking and to feel justified in doing it.
: One campaign that was not mentioned in class is one my dad told me about one time. This campaign used doctors in their adds, my father was a doctor at this time and they would have a doctor on a commercial saying "I smoke my Camels every day" type of statements. Then at the end of the commercial a text would show up on the screen saying that 8 out of 10 doctors smoked "Camels". They even at this time had cigarette machines in hospitals, and granted my dad is old it was knowledge that cigarettes were bad for you at this time. Now talk about contradicting ideas, one person tells you cigarettes are healthy and then you see an ad with a doctor smoking and telling you its ok. Doctors are generally suposed to be knowledgeable about health matters and if they tell you ok then why would a consumer doubt this. Another similar campaign with Jo the Camel was aimed at younger children. "Jo" was portrayed as being cool and therefore younger people wanted to be like him. Though they may have been informed that smoking is bad, they see this portrayal of a smooth, successful, and cool character and they end up starting to smoke. They prob. do this because once again the conflicting messages sent out my the cigarette companies, now though "Jo" is no longer used in Camel ads becuase the ads were found to be made to appeal to children and this was not seen as a proper thing and since "Jo" has not been shown in a cartoon likeness. Another thing I have noticed is that cigarette ads are no longer on T.V. as a child I remember seeing them all the time. I am not sure why this has stopped, if it was because of a law suit or something that prevents them from advertising in this way, but it must have been a sizeable dispute because T.V. is the biggest advertising media now.
: Ad campaigns like this have been very successful and as a consumer myself, if I were interested in a product but I heard oposing views on it I would not know who to believe and would probably continue using the products. This is a very interesting way of getting around the issue of cigaretts being harmful and now that large corporations are owning media then ads like this and similar others can be continued and the process of confusing the consumer will work to the advantage of larger corporations with money and power despite people working to educate the public.
: I thought this was an interesting issue and was wondering if anyone else has been a confused consumer and what type of things the gov. or we can do to combat this continuing trend?
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