The "Smart Smoker"

January 17, 2011
By Dan Schmidt SILVER, Hartland, Wisconsin
Dan Schmidt SILVER, Hartland, Wisconsin
7 articles 0 photos 0 comments

This is a print advertisement for four different types of cigarettes: Marlboro, Kingsley, The Brave, and Tucson. They are being sold by the website company Smart, also known as Order Smokes Direct. It is an American Tobacco store that sells tobacco products including cigarettes, cigars, chewing tobacco, and moist snuff. The advertisement is targeting all smokers over the age of 21 because to order from the website you need to be at least 21-years-old. But this ad will still attract all smokers which may be as young as 13 or 14 because it offers them cheaper cigarettes.
The advertisement pictures four boxes of cigarettes (Marlboro, Kingsley, The Brave, and Tucson) and says the prices per carton for each with a small description about the brand. Underneath the prices in small type is “Prices subject to change without notice.” At the top of the ad, in large, bold letters is “Discount Smokes!” To the right of the cigarettes is a box stating the “SmartSmoker Advantage,” with the company logo at the bottom. It says that you receive “fast, accurate shipping, a 30-day no hassle return policy, auto-shipping, and the possibility for a sample program.” Towards the bottom of the ad, is a ten-dollar off coupon next to the web address and phone number of the company. In tiny letters underneath this is the surgeon general’s warning, the fact that you must be at least 21-years-old to order, and that the buyer is responsible for payment of all applicable sales and excise taxes.
Bribery is being used through a coupon on the advertisement for ten dollars off of your first order. Also, it offers a sample program which allows you to receive free sample cartons. The phrase “Smart Smoker” is used multiple times in the ad which illustrates repetition. The ad is pounding into your head that if you use their company you’re “smart.” This is bad because the ad is creating an illusion that using their tobacco products makes you smarter, which leads to the next persuasion tool: The big lie. The company’s name is, but there are no “smart” smokers. Smoking is not a good decision and there’s nothing smart about it. The only smart smoker is the one who quits.
Behind the savings and discounts is an untold story. Important and needed information is left out of the advertisement. A price is stated for the cigarettes shown, but not that all products on the website must be bought in bulk. It also states that buyers are responsible for payment of all excise taxes, but it doesn’t say what those taxes are. Last, the ad contains a surgeon general’s warning saying: “cigarette smoke contains carbon monoxide.” This may be overlooked by many people because that warning, specifically carbon monoxide, doesn’t seem dangerous to them. The warning should state that cigarette smoke is addictive or causes cancer.
The unhealthy message is the promotion of the use of tobacco products, specifically smoking cigarettes. Using tobacco products is addictive and dangerous. They cause mouth and lung cancer, as well as other health issues, leading to 438,000 deaths per year in the United States. A healthy message isn’t present in the advertisement. However, the one positive is that it offers a discount on prices, which saves people money.
This ad portrays values of money being more important than health. The company is sending a message that saving a couple bucks comes before the health of their clients. It’s suggesting you can save money, and that you shouldn’t worry about the fact that you may get cancer and die.” This will offend all anti-tobacco users because it’s promoting the use of those products, avoiding the negatives about them, and coaxing people into starting or continuing smoking. The ad could be more truthful by blatantly stating the negatives about smoking rather than tip-toeing around them and only focusing on saving money.

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