Ads and cigarettes

In women’s magazines, the advertisements are clear in reaching their target audience. Pick up a women’s magazine, and you will find no shortage of shampoo, shaving cream, mascara, tampon and lipstick ads. Oddly (or maybe not-so oddly), there are rarely cigarette ads.

I am very easily swayed by the ads I see in magazines, which means they are doing a very good job. If I see an ad for a purple tube of CoverGirl LashBlash mascara in my issue of Seventeen, chances are, the next time I’m on my CVS run and I need mascara, that’s the kind I’ll buy. Why? Because I saw an ad for it and it promised me longer, luscious eyelashes, that’s why. I’m a sucker for those CoverGirl commercials on TV that show Drew Barrymore applying berry lip stain (I bought two). Every time I watch an America’s Next Top Model marathon on Saturday when I should be doing homework, every other word out of Tyra Bank’s mouth is “CoverGirl.” We live in a CoverGirl world and I shamelessly buy into it every time.

Do men buy into these products too?

Recently, these cigarettes were advertised in an issue of Esquire:

I was curious. If a smoker reading Esquire saw an ad promoting American Spirits, would he be more inclined to purchase them?

To answer this question, I had to look no further than my place of employment: The Daily Campus.

If you come to The Daily Campus on a week night and stand outside the building near the sketchy wooden staircase, every hour or so, at least one of three employees will step outside to have a cigarette break. Russell is one of them.

I don’t smoke. But for some reason, I really enjoy the smell. Not the smell like when you come home after a night at Mohegan Sun and your clothes still reek of cigarettes five days later, but it’s different when you’re standing outside. Especially when it’s a cold night and the air smells really crisp and fresh. When I hear someone is going outside for a cigarette break, nine times out of 10, I’ll probably go outside too just so I can sit there and smell the smoke. Plus, it’s a really good opportunity to gossip.

Meet Russell. He’s our managing editor.

This week, when I went with Russell to Store 24, which is place frequently visited by DC staffers, the guy behind the counter even knew to ask him if he wanted matches. It’s like going to Starbucks and the barista knowing that you want a tall non-fat latte with an extra shot of espresso without you even needing to ask. They chatted about the price of cigarettes and Malloy’s proposed tax increase on them. I was impressed.

Read on for our revealing Q&A:

What’s your favorite brand of cigarettes?

It’s tough. It switches based on my mood. I’ve never smoked anything but Camels. Over the summer, I smoked Camel Lights and at school, I smoke Camel Filters. During the first few years of college, I smoked Turkish Royals.

How old were you when you had your first cigarette?

Probably like 16. But I didn’t become a regular smoker until senior year of high school.

Why did you start smoking?

I enjoy it. This is gonna sound kind of odd, but a cigarette break is acceptable. If you’re walking, if you’re driving…it becomes routine. I don’t worry about the cost or the health risks.


Because I’m so young. Kids do a lot worse.

How much do you spend on cigarettes a week?

It varies, but a ballpark of $40.

Why Camels?

I’m proud that I smoke Camels. They’re the underdog brand. You almost become fiercely loyal to the brand you smoke. You can almost compare it to cars. When you associate yourself with a certain brand, you don’t stray too often.

Can you explain the social aspect of smoking?

If there’s someone who you’ve never met before and you’re standing outside, it’s like a bond. It’s a minority. There’s a lot of anti-cigarette sentiment with campaigns, so you have to stick together.

Will you let your kids smoke?

I don’t want them to be everyday smokers if they’re under the age of 18.

Are you easily swayed by ads? Would you buy American Spirits?

No. Those are like $9 a pack.

Clearly, Russell is not swayed. Like I am loyal to my LashBlash mascara, Russell is loyal to his Camels.


About Taylor

Taylor Trudon is a senior journalism major at the University of Connecticut. She is commentary editor of the student newspaper, The Daily Campus, and career editor of Her Campus magazine. Taylor is a 2009 and 2010 New York Women in Communications scholarship recipient.
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