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Bad Ad Review
This is an ad for Blu Electronic Cigarettes. The ad consists of 40 year old actor, Stephen Dorff, sitting on the driver’s side headrest of a white convertible in a dry salt flat. The car had a black leather interior, stained wood steering wheel, and chromed side-mirrors, windshield frame and review mirror. The man is wearing a blue sweater and light tan khakis. His hair and eye color is light brown. Part of a tattoo is visible on the side of his left forearm, and he’s smoking one of the products. The pack of electronic cigarettes is sitting on top of the dashboard. There’s also a pack of Blu eCigs in the bottom right of the ad.
Towards the top of the page, next to the man, is a description of the product. “TAKE BACK,” is the top line with black ink and all caps. “YOUR FREEDOM,” is on the next line—also in all caps but with blue ink. It then says in black ink, “with Blu eCigs®, the smart alternative to cigarettes. “Blu eCigs®” is in blue ink. Then listed in bullet points: Smoke Virtually Anywhere; No Tobacco Smoke, Only Vapor; Flavors Made in the U.S.A.
At the bottom of the page, written in blue ink, is the statement, “blu™ electronic cigarettes are now available in retail stores nationwide. Visit us at blucig/store-locator” In small grey print is more information, “NOT FOR SALE TO MINORS. blu eCigs® electronic cigarettes are not a smoking cessation product and have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration, nor are they intended to treat, prevent or cure any disease or condition. ©2013 LOEC, Inc.blu™, and blu eCigs® are trademarks of Lorillard Technologies, Inc. (Photography by Francessco Carrozzini)”
The target market for this product, with the way the picture looks, is directed for younger white men. Even though Stephen is 40 (and white), he looks like he’s in his mid-thirties. But upon further studying of the ad, NOT FOR SALE TO MINORS is at the bottom of the page. Therefore, the target audience of this product is anyone that is over the legal age limit of 18.
The biggest persuasion technique that is used is flattery. It’s the biggest because “TAKE BACK YOUR FREEDOM” is the biggest font on the advertisement. This saying is implying that smokers have been oppressed and limited to where they can and cannot smoke, but with this product, they will have the freedom to go where they want and smoke. People can go anywhere because water vapor is produced, not tobacco smoke.
Another technique in persuasion that eCigarette companies use is celebrities. Actor Stephen Dorff (Blade 1998, Immortals 2011, Public Enemies 2009) is modeling the blu eCig® in this ad. Other celebrities that are linked with eCigs are; Jenny McCarthy (actress), Simon Cowell (Producer), Leonardo DiCaprio (actor), and even the One Direction singer Zayn Malik. Celebrity testimonials can either make or break product success, so it’s always good for companies to get them to give positive reviews of the item.
Another thing that blu eCigs® has going for their products is its young shelf life. This means that eCigs are new. It’s a new creation that hasn’t been on the shelf very long. They’re so new that the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) hasn’t even tested them to find out if it is bad for users. Plus, people want the newest thing. I.e. when new phones come out, people want that new model of their phone even though their current phone is only one year old. This same concept has been taken in the cigarettes department. Cigarettes have been around for hundreds of years, so people are willing to try the newest thing. This is where eCigs come into play. They’re only a few years old and still new to smokers.
Persuasion techniques secretly send hidden messages. With this eCig advertisement, the secret messages are “smoking is only healthy with an electronic cigarette,” “you’ll look cool if you use this.” The first phrase is a hidden message because one of the bullet points on the ad says, “No Tobacco Smoke, Only Vapor.” This means that there isn’t any tobacco in their products. Since there’s no tobacco, people think that it must be healthier. There’s only one problem with that. Even though there’s no tobacco, there is still nicotine in it. And that “Vapor” they talk about, that is water vapor but it also has the addictive drug nicotine infused with the water particles. So it is healthier in the sense that there isn’t any tobacco in their product, but it’s just as bad as normal cigarettes because it has nicotine which keeps the buyer wanting to use it.
blu™ is subliminally saying that you’ll look cool if you smoke their eCigs. This is portrayed through the whole setup of the picture. A good-looking guy wearing expensive clothes is smoking a blu eCig® while sitting in a convertible. This just screams fake! They’re making it seem that if you use their products, you’ll suddenly have expensive clothes and a nice car. The truth of the matter is that won’t happen. In order to be able to wear nice clothes and own a nice car is through your profession. Blu eCigs® have nothing to do with your prosperity.
The magazine ad leaves out some information. The biggest piece missing is the price. Nowhere on this advertisement does a price be stated. Their product line isn’t listed either. Only one pack is shown, but it doesn’t show the price of that or any other product of theirs. Another thing that has been left off is the exact stores that are selling them. This might actually be a good thing. It does say, “blu™ electronic cigarettes are now available in retail stores nationwide.” So it does say that they’re available at retail stores, but it doesn’t list specific stores. This might be that if they did, blu™ might have to pay royalties to those stores. They also leave their website. If you go to that site, there is a search box for a zip code. Once a zip code is entered, it will show the closest convenience stores that sell this piece of merchandise. It’s even stated that they have “Flavors Made in the U.S.A.” which helps with business sales since there are people that only buy things that are made in America. Other than not giving a price, blu™ does a good job at including information. It even states in the bottom paragraph in all capital letters, “NOT FOR SALE TO MINORS.” So they know who their target market is for.
It’s clear that this advertisement has been proof read. There aren’t any misspelled words, nor are there any grammatical mistakes present. Time had been taken to make sure this was a good ad before it was printed. Everything is simple to read and structured correctly towards the targeted audience.
This advertisement might offend other races and women. It could offend other races because it only shows a white person smoking. Women may be offended because of the fact that only a man is shown using the item. A stereotype that might be portrayed is the fact that all men smoke. Obviously not all men smoke, but this may make it seem like all men smoke.
Every advertisement has some amount of bad advertising in it. That is just how things go. Some are worse than others. But this blu eCigarette® ad is actually a good ad in some sense. It’s a bad ad because of the shallow persuasion techniques that are used and there’s no price listed anywhere. But it is also a good ad because it’s easy to read and understand, readers are invited to visit their listed website, a few points of their product is given, and it gives a warning to not sell to a minor. No matter how good the ad is, there is always room for improvement.