Camel Ad

“Tobacco ads feed the notion that everyone smokes – and has lots of fun while doing it. Images of happy smokers at parties, in restaurants and even in the great outdoors reinforce the connection between smoking and good times.” – US Winston Online Club

The practice of placing hidden (subliminal) imagery in select print advertisements is a technique used by advertisers.  Advertisers know that most people will not spend much time looking at print advertisements.  Therefore, hidden (subliminal) imagery, ideas and words can be placed in print advertisements without immediate detection.

The Dark Side of Subliminal Advertising is a blog site that exposes the advertising technique of placing hidden (subliminal) imagery, ideas, and words in advertisements.

It is important to realize that ads are not designed for the conscious mind, they are deliberately designed to reach the subconscious mind.  The subconscious mind operates under a different set of laws compared to the operations of the conscious mind.

On average, people look at a print ad for no more than two seconds.  Therefore the advertiser has two seconds in which to convey a message in order to increase sales.

With this in mind, look closely at this print advertisement and see if you notice anything interesting:

On the bottom left side of this print advertisement, take a look at the words on the lunch wagon:

Underneath the windshield of the lunch wagon is the word “OPEN”

Underneath the word “OPEN” is the word “CIGARETTES”.

The message is “OPEN CIGARETTES” meaning “open a pack of cigarettes”.  

Also, notice that the word "ICE" is near the word "CIGARETTES".
Ice is Cool, therefore the analogy is that Cigarettes are Cool.

Now, look at the window to the right of the windshield.  There are two stacked cups behind the window.  The two stacks of cups are similar to two cigarettes sticking out of a cigarette pack.  Also, the color of the cups is similar to the color of cigarette filters.

Take a look at the ad slogan:

“Camel Filters.  They’re not for everybody”

There are six people shown in this print advertisement.  When you read the ad copy, five out of the six individuals are described as smokers.  

The person #5 is designated as the person who smokes Camel Filters.

The person #6 is an overweight, middle aged, sunburnt man.  He is the only individual who is not listed as a smoker.  This man is labeled as an “Unidentified frying object”. A name is not given for person #6.  He is also not listed as a smoker. 

Person #6 is singled out as an outsider compared to the smokers, an “Unidentified frying object”; an alien (UFO).  This man is not a part of the group of the five individuals that smoke.  He stands apart from five smokers and faces them.  Notice that the five smokers are very close to one another, each person touching the person(s) next to them in some fashion.

The ad slogan states, “Camel Filters.  They’re not for everybody.”  Camel Filters are not for the “Unidentified frying object”.  This man does not fit in with the group of smokers.  He is an oddball.  This man isn’t part of the “in” group of smokers.

“By associating…people with fun, excitement and attitude, tobacco advertisers work hard to convince consumers that if they don’t smoke, they’re not cool.” 1

Notice that the smokers are relatively thin and appear to be in relatively good physical shape.  However, person #6 is slightly overweight and doesn’t appear to be in the best physical shape.

The fact that a slightly overweight man has been chosen to appear in this advertisement is significant.  Concern about gaining weight is a real hurdle for many smokers and is a big reason for why many smokers are afraid to quit smoking.  Statistics show that 4 out of 5 people will gain weight after they quit smoking. 2

Notice that the five smokers are evenly tan while the “Unidentified frying object” is sunburnt.  Not only is he sunburnt, he still has his shirt off, exposing his skin to further sun damage. 

The “Unidentified frying object” is exposing himself to the potential risk of cancer by first getting a farmers sunburn; and then by not wearing a shirt in order to reduce more exposure to the sun.  He is not making changes to avoid the potential risk of cancer.

The group of smokers are also exposing themselves to the risk of cancer by smoking.

All of the individuals in this advertisement are exposed to getting burned by the effects of cancer.

Radiation therapy and chemotherapy are methods utilized to combat skin cancer.

Radiation therapy and chemotherapy are methods utilized to battle lung cancer.

With cancer treatment, burns can not only be caused by radiation therapy treatment, chemo also can cause burns. 3

“Most lung cancer is caused by smoking. Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer deaths.” 4

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