The Targeting of Youths By Cigarette Marketers: Archival Evidence on Trial

ABSTRACT - Contrary to vehement industry denials, the targeting of youth is amply evidenced in corporate documents produced during the trial about Canada's cigarette advertising ban. Extensive and sophisticated research identified target segments, starting at age 15, and guided the advertising aimed at them, while recognizing addiction among adolescents. Images of independence and freedom from authority were used by competing firms to appeal to the psychological needs of young starters. Careful crafting ensured that images were not too immature, lest the brand consequently be rejected, and the activities not too aerobic, lest this precipitate cognitive counter-arguing. "Positive lifestyle imagery" was used as a matter of policy to enhance the social acceptability of smoking. The importance of images of independence to attract Canadian youths is compared to the American experience with brands like Marlboro.


Richard W. Pollay and Anne M. Lavack (1993) ,"The Targeting of Youths By Cigarette Marketers: Archival Evidence on Trial", in NA - Advances in Consumer Research Volume 20, eds. Leigh McAlister and Michael L. Rothschild, Provo, UT : Association for Consumer Research, Pages: 266-271.

Advances in Consumer Research Volume 20, 1993      Pages 266-271


Richard W. Pollay, University of British Columbia

Anne M. Lavack, University of British Columbia


Contrary to vehement industry denials, the targeting of youth is amply evidenced in corporate documents produced during the trial about Canada's cigarette advertising ban. Extensive and sophisticated research identified target segments, starting at age 15, and guided the advertising aimed at them, while recognizing addiction among adolescents. Images of independence and freedom from authority were used by competing firms to appeal to the psychological needs of young starters. Careful crafting ensured that images were not too immature, lest the brand consequently be rejected, and the activities not too aerobic, lest this precipitate cognitive counter-arguing. "Positive lifestyle imagery" was used as a matter of policy to enhance the social acceptability of smoking. The importance of images of independence to attract Canadian youths is compared to the American experience with brands like Marlboro.


Cigarette firms "vehemently, unequivocally and unilaterally deny any youth-directed marketing efforts (Ad. Age 1983)." Nonetheless, in 1988 Canada passed the Tobacco Product Control Act to severely limit "inducements" to smoking, i.e. advertising and promotional activities. The constitutionality of this near ban, in intent, was challenged by Imperial Tobacco Ltd. (ITL) and R.J. Reynolds-Macdonald Inc. (RJR). These two major cigarette marketers dominate the Canadian market, sharing it only with Philip Morris (Benson & Hedges). All are affiliated with major U.S. tobacco firms. Although final adjudication of this case is still pending, large quantities of confidential documents from the marketing and advertising files of the two plaintiff cigarette firms became available for pre-trial review and many became trial evidence and entered the public domain. These documents directly contradict many of the tobacco industry's common assertions, e.g., that all cigarette advertising is aimed solely at brand switchers, not starters; or that cigarette sellers take no strategic interest in adolescents. This paper reviews these documents, focusing on the targeting of youth, providing highlights in the firms' own words.


Tobacco marketers are well aware of the increasingly difficult conditions they face. As awareness of death risks, addiction and the perils of passive smoking have grown and smoking has become less socially acceptable, tobacco companies have made attempts to provide reassurances to smokers in a variety of ways, including the extensive use of advertising and public relations (Pollay 1990b). RJR's 1986 Tempo Qualitative Post-Launch Evaluation (AG-17) points out that:

"Many smokers are questioning their 'habit' for both health and economic reasons. The present anti-smoking climate has made smokers defensive about smoking both to themselves and to others ... These attitudes result in smokers requiring some reassurance about both the social acceptability of smoking and smoking a particular brand (p.7)."

[All corporate documents discussed were manifest in proceedings assessing the constitutionality of Canada's Tobacco Products Control Act: Imperial Tobacco Limitee & RJR-Macdonald Inc. c. Le Procureur General du Canada, Quebec Superior Court, 1990. Documents entered into evidence are cited using the trial numbers indicating who entered the documents, e.g. Attorney General (AG-###), R.J.Reynolds-MacDonald Inc. (RJR-###) or Imperial Tobacco Ltd. (ITL-###). These, and all others mentioned, were reviewed and reported to the court in Pollay (1990a) (AG-224). A condensed version of this expert opinion appears as Pollay (1992a).] The commitment to enhance the social acceptability of smoking was repeated often in ITL's statement of philosophies (AG-51) which prefaced most contemporary marketing documents:

"Support the continued social acceptability of smoking through industry and/or corporate actions (e.g. product quality, positive lifestyle advertising, selective field activities and marketing public relations programs)(p.1)."

The Multiple Roles of Advertising

Cigarette marketers are acutely aware of the important roles played by their advertising. The ITL 1971 Marketing Plan states:

"In a market with minimal product differentiation, advertising becomes a disproportionately important part of the marketing mix as compared to most other mass consumer products (p.18)."

Advertising also as not only advancing general social acceptability of smoking, and an instrument of competition preferred to price wars, but is seen as a means of influencing the attitudes, perceptions and resulting behaviors of two key consumer segments: concerned smokers (latent quitters), and young starters (new users). Advertising of maximal effectiveness for the firms and industry would (a) reinforce current smokers, inducing them to continue smoking rather than quit, and/or (b) attract starters. The dual interest in reinforcing existing smokers and recruiting new smokers is shown in many of the documents, with brand switchers of only tertiary importance. For example, RJR's 1978 Business Plan (AG-14) identified Export A has having the need to "maintain brand share of first time smokers (p.2060)." Export A's target audience for advertising was made up of "current Export A smokers," "new smokers," and lastly "full flavour switchers (p.2065)."

The Response of the Market and of Imperial Tobacco to the Smoking and Health Environment (AG-41) illustrates how product design, too, serves to retain would be quitters:

"Smoking and Health has caused a general movement in the market down the T&N [tar and nicotine] scale.... We have evidence of virtually no quitting among smokers of those brands, and there are indications that the advent of ultra low tar cigarettes has actually retained some potential quitters in the cigarette market by offering them a viable alternative (p.2)."

The Strategic Importance of Starters

Capturing a healthy share of the starters market is particularly important in the cigarette industry, because of its phenomenally high rates of brand loyalty. Because annual brand switching rates are very low, 10% or less a year in contemporary times, capturing starters builds a solid franchise base with high year to year retention. The firms that succeed in capturing starters soon dominate the industry, as best shown by Philip Morris and Marlboro. The Canadian tobacco industry has understood this for at least two decades. The 1971 Matinee Marketing Plan stated:

"Young smokers represent the major opportunity group for the cigarette industry. We should therefore determine their attitudes to smoking and health and how this might change over time (p.11)."

More recently, the F'88 Marketing Plan of ITL notes:

"If the last ten years have taught us anything, it is that the industry is dominated by the companies who respond most effectively to the needs of younger smokers. Our efforts on these brands will remain on maintaining their relevance to smokers in these younger groups in spite of the (poor) share performance they may develop among older smokers (p.6, emphasis in original)."

Although couched in the corporate terminology of "major opportunity group" and the desire to "respond most effectively to the needs of younger smokers," marketing documents demonstrate that the youth franchise which the primary youth-oriented brands enjoy is no accident, but instead is the result of carefully planned and executed strategies, guided throughout by extensive research.


Multiple research resources and perspectives are employed for a single brand. ITL's Project Huron, for example, evaluated the feasibility of an American flavored cigarette targeted primarily at young males 15-25. It was the subject of at least 33 different market research reports, utilizing at least six external research suppliers, over the space of just four years. Market research enhances the potential impact of cigarette advertising by carefully identifying the effective appeals and executions. The techniques range from the pedestrian to the esoteric, from simple surveys and focus group discussions to elaborate and convergent analyses of multiple data bases. Most studies seek insight into the psychological dynamics of existing and potential consumers, and their perceptions, interpretations and recall of advertisements. Research documents discuss the behavior of 11, 12 and 13 year olds and the nature of the starting process. The consumer research identifies the needs, interests and concerns of target audiences so that advertising can position the product offering in terms that they will find relevant and appealing. The heterogeneity of consumers leads cigarette firms to identify segments who share similar patterns of social and political attitudes, lifestyles, product use and brand preferences.

Risks and Rationalizations

Both ITL and RJR have generated several research studies focused on starters, some of which have identified the risks and rationalizations of pre-teens and teens when beginning to smoke. Imperial Tobacco's Project 16 used focus groups of 16 and 17 year olds in the fall of 1977. It was described retrospectively in Project Plus/Minus (AG-217) as being a "memorable project" with the purpose of understanding:

"why do young people start smoking, and how do they feel about being smokers?... The results were in depth, revealing, at times even fraught with drama in glimpses of the baring of that much investigated but still mysterious adolescent psyche (p.1)."

Project 16 (AG-216) was conducted at hotels where "closed circuit television observation facilities were in use for observers from Imperial Tobacco, McKim Advertising Limited, and Spitzer Mills and Bates [ITL's advertising agencies] (p.2)." Among the insights into starting that were revealed:

"The adolescent seeks to display his new urge for independence with a symbol, and cigarettes are such a symbol.... Serious efforts to learn to smoke occur between ages 12 and 13 in most cases (p.i-ii)."

Project 16 also revealed that the cigarette firms know full well that many 16 and 17 year olds are already addicted to cigarettes, and are sorry they ever began to smoke:

"However intriguing smoking was at 11, 12 or 13, by the age of 16 or 17 many regretted their use of cigarettes for health reasons and because they feel unable to stop smoking when they want to ("

Imperial Tobacco subsequently commissioned Project Plus/Minus (AG-217), a study among young people aged 16-24 which sought additional insight into their perceptions of the pros and cons of smoking. The report concluded that:

"Starters no longer disbelieve the dangers of smoking, but they almost universally assume these risks will not apply to themselves because they will not become addicted. Once addiction does take place, it becomes necessary for the smoker to make peace with the accepted hazards. This is done by a wide range of rationalizations ... The desire to quit seems to come earlier now than before, even prior to the end of high school. In fact, it often seems to take hold as soon as the recent starter admits to himself that he is hooked on smoking. However, the desire to quit, and actually carrying it out, are two quite different things, as the would-be quitter soon learns (p.i)."

Quebecois subjects expressed similar attitudes about being addicted. Project Plus/Minus: Young People and Smoking, Behaviors and Attitudes, 1982, Summary concluded:

"They are sorry that they ever started smoking because it's harmful but they feel somewhat trapped. They are constantly reminded of their lack of willpower. To defend themselves they tend to put on a jaunty air. They do this to save face because they would really like to quit and not appear to be slaves to their cigarettes ... Those who have tried to give up smoking have found the experience very painful. It made them realize that, although they thought they could quit easily, they have become slaves to their cigarettes (p.12-13)."

Identifying Personality and Psychological Needs

The primary example of this focus is the Youth Target Study '87 (RJR-6), a major study with four large volumes of results. The 1,022 subjects of this research were aged fifteen (15) to twenty-four (24) years of age. Whether non-starters came from particular family and social environments was addressed by measuring adult smoking, family pressures about starting, and smoking by teenage peers. Lifestyle was measured along fifteen dimensions such as laissez-faire, workaholic, wimpishness, or dropout. Attitudes and knowledge about the association between smoking and ill health were studied in great depth. The images of smokers, quitters, and never starters were measured along seventeen dimensions. Data on the image of tobacco products was gathered on twenty five scales. Advocacy issues were tapped by measuring awareness of anti-smoking campaigns and the relative credibility of various sources of information, such as doctors, teachers, government, and manufacturers.

Perhaps the most striking component of this massive research effort, however, was the measurement of personality traits with a clinical psychometric instrument, Cattell's 16 Personality Factors. Scales of this instrument ranges from Harria (tough-minded) to Premsia (tender-minded); Alaxia (trusting) to Protension (suspicious); or Threctia (shy) to Parmia (adventuresome). Still other scales measure, in the less obscure terminology, intelligence, ego strength, submissiveness, shrewdness, imaginativeness, guilt proneness, conservatism, self-sufficiency and self-discipline.

Sample Segments

Youth Target Study '87 (RJR-6) used cluster analysis to divide the youth market into seven psychographic groups, descriptively dubbed Big City Independents, Tomorrow's Leaders, Transitional Adults, Quiet Conformers, T.G.I.F.'s, Insecure Moralists, and Small Town Traditionalists (p.8-10). The T.G.I.F. (Thank God It's Friday) segment is the largest, containing about 30% of all those aged 15-24. A whopping 62% of the T.G.I.F. group are smokers making them a primary target segment (p.39). The T.G.I.F. group is primarily comprised of underachievers who are:

"rooted in the present. They live for the moment and tend to be self-indulgent ... Achievement and leadership is not a goal for this group compared to others. Societal issues are relative non-issues ... [and] they are the most prominent supporters of smoking ... They do read newspapers and some magazines, including Playboy and Penthouse. Heavy metal and hard rock are common music choices (p.8, 21)."

In stark contrast, Tomorrow's Leaders are described as being "gregarious and assertive, clear in their direction and oriented toward achievement and success.... They are personally active in sports and concerned about fitness. Smoking is anathema (sic)(p.13)." Small Town Traditionalists "often come from rural and small town areas and [are] imbued with the conservative values emanating therefrom (sic).... [They] are hard working, unselfish and against smoking, sexual freedom, discrimination and overt sex and violence (p.26)."

An even more elaborate effort was RJR's Family Segmentation: Segment Descriptor Study (RJR-175), which used a triangulation of three complementary approaches to segment the entire cigarette market, not just youths. The first approach used perceptual mapping on data evaluating 16 brands across a series of product/user imagery statements. This identified five brand imagery clusters: masculine, female/moderation, popular/urban, concerned, and traditional. A second segmentation approach, called "tobaccographics," also found five segments reflecting differing patterns in attitudes toward smoking: Experimenters, Quitters, Guilty Unselective Habituals, Selective Habituals, and Ostriches (the industry term for those unresponsive to health information, like the proverbial ostrich with its head buried in the sand in response to threat). The third segmentation approach defined psychographic segments based on 74 statements which reflected attitudes toward life in general. Status Seekers, Affluent Progressives, Achievers, Conservatives, Traditionalists, and Geriatrics were the identified clusters from this perspective.


Modelling Young People and Behaviors

Player's, an ITL starters' brand, sought the starters market in head to head competition with RJR's Export A. The F'81 Advertising: Objectives and Strategies, Creative Guidelines (AG-35) specifies that the target market will "emphasize the under 20 year old group in its imagery reflection of lifestyle (activity) tastes (p.42)." Despite the self regulatory guidelines which in Canada, like the U.S., specify that models should be and appear to be over 25, the models used in Player's advertising were intended to be particularly young looking:

"Models in Player's advertising must be 25 years or older, but should appear to be between 18 and 25 years of age (p.52)."

RJR learned the hard way that models can be too young, however. The Tempo brand was test marketed in select cities, with most of the media budget going for out-of-home media, targeting key youth locations and meeting places close to theatres, record stores, video arcades, etc. The J. Walter Thompson creative recommendations (AG-16) targeted the young who were "extremely influenced by their peer group" using "imagery which portrays the positive social appeal of peer group acceptance ... where acceptance by the group provides a sense of belonging and security (p.4)." The creative featured notably young models, arm in arm, and wearing casual clothes seen as trendy by the young. The brand met with mixed results in the test market, in part because it was too explicitly "young" in its character. Few self respecting teenagers want an explicitly teen product, as they seek symbols of adulthood, not adolescence.

Images of Independence

The brands most successful with teenagers are those that offer adult imagery rich with connotations of independence, freedom from authority, and self-reliance. The Marlboro Man epitomizes this, as he is totally and autonomously free - usually alone and interacting with no one, and always with no parents, no older brothers, no foreman, no bullies, indeed no one at all whose authority must be respected. There is not even a sheriff in Marlboro Country.

But while the young seek independence from authority (parents, teachers, etc.), they also want peer support. Cigarettes are a visible "badge product" and the user's character is displayed every time the branded package is. How peers view your brand of cigarette is also, therefore, vitally important. The firms are aware of this delicate dialectic, and the dual role of advertising in communicating to both the potential consumer and his or her peers. ITL's 1988 Project Sting tested "overtly masculine imagery, targeted at young males ... Young males are going through a stage where they are seeking to express their independence and individuality under constant pressure of being accepted by their peers (p.1-2)."

The Export A brand had a special appeal for young adolescents, as recognized by RJR in the Export Family Strategy Document of 1982 (AG-222):

"...very young starter smokers choose Export A because it provides them with an instant badge of masculinity, appeals to their rebellious nature and establishes their position amongst their peers (p.7299)."

RJR carefully nurtured this image of the Export A smoker. A section titled "How We Want Consumers to View the Brand" states that:

"The Export imagery will dimensionalize (sic) the breed of men who are masculine, independent, adventurous and possess the qualities of natural leadership.... Women are attracted to these men because of their youthful virility, independence and spirit of adventure (p.7331)."

ITL's 1985 Project Stereo (AG-27) provided creative guidelines for the effective display of freedom and independence in advertising imagery for appealing to a young market. Project Stereo described how Player's and its closest rival for starting males, Export A, both imaged independence, with subtle yet very important differences. Both used ads featuring strong, masculine, hardy men, typically alone in the fresh air of the outdoors. The brand images for Player's and Export A were, however, contrasted as follows by ITL, with the far more successful Player's brand image mentioned first:

"choose to be alone vs. being a loner;

masculine/softer man vs. macho/rugged;

okay to show feelings vs. can't show feelings;

can get along with women vs. no women;

better job/steady worker vs. working class, blue collar;

adventurous/try new things vs. daredevil;

independent/strong willed vs. doesn't care about society (p.18)."

Project Stereo's Final Report (AG-27) made recommendations for designing advertisements for the Player's brand showing people "free to choose friends, music, clothes, own activities, to be alone if he wishes"; who "can manage alone" and be "close to nature" with "nobody to interfere, no boss/parents"; and self-reliant enough to experience solitude without loneliness (p. 60).

Pictures of Health

The images used in the Player's ads were carefully crafted to feature attainable activities which were appealing to youth, but which were not so 'aerobic' as to be unbelievable in the context of smoking. The Player's Filter '81, Creative Guideline (AG-222) suggests that ads feature activities which:

"should not require undue physical exertion. They should not be representative of an elitist's sport nor should they be seen as a physical conditioner. The activity shown should be one which is practiced by young people 16 to 20 years old or one that these people can reasonably aspire to in the near future. The activity should not be limited to a certain social class or inaccessible to our target group because of their modest means.... The chosen scene should idealy (sic) depict a pause or moment of relaxation before, during or after the activity.... However, the scene may show participants in action if the moment of product consumption can be assumed to be close to the scene depicted (p.1-2)."

Minimizing Counter-arguing

Although images used in cigarette advertising often portray pictures of health, these images are tested, ensuring that they elicit minimal counter-arguing from viewers. For example, in the Project Stereo Advertising Evaluation (AG-220) a windsurfing ad for ITL's Player's brand was evaluated finding that:

"The reaction to windsurfing as an activity is neutral with regard to whether or not the people who engage in it are likely to be smokers or not. However, the more physically fit and healthy-looking the protagonists, the stronger the 'no-smoking' reaction. The same person sitting on the beachCperceived by most as resting after surfingCor shown carrying a surfboardCwhether getting out of the water or walking toward the oceanCevokes different reactions regarding smoking. Respondents are willing to accept the man smoking while resting but are reluctant to think of him as a smoker while his well-built body is in full view (p.6)."


The American Experience.

Cigarette manufacturers have been judged to be targeting America's young for many years. Fortune (1963, p.120) long ago observed that "cigarette ads often portray and seem to be pitched directly at young people." Recent analysis of the television media buying by cigarette firms in the 1960s notes that the buying patterns were significantly correlated only with the size of the teenage audience various time slots delivered (Pollay 1992b).

American advertisers, like their Canadian counterparts, have long thought that individualism, and the related notions of independence, self reliance, autonomy from authority, are important strategic concepts in ad executions, accounting for the success among starters of some of the most prominent brands, like Marlboro or Virginia Slims. One account describes the success of Philip Morris' marketing executives George Weissman and Jack Landry. Marlboro had been sold as a woman's cigarette, with devices like lipstick colored filters and a "Mild as May" slogan, since the 1920s. The first attempts at repositioning the brand as male in the 1950s featured the breathy sensual singing of Julie London and tattooed WWII veterans, paying most attention to the flip-top box packaging innovation. When Weissman assumed responsibility in the late 1950s, his research informed him that post-adolescents in search of an identity were taking up smoking as a way of declaring independence from their parents. Jack Landry, together with the Leo Burnett agency, came up "commercials that would turn rookie smokers on to Marlboro ... the right image to capture the youth market's fancy ... a perfect symbol of independence and individualistic rebellion (Meyers 1984, p.70)." The power of this image based transformational, rather than informational, style of advertising was and is still demonstrated by Marlboro's stunning success over time at capturing a significant share of starters, inevitably becoming the best selling brand.

Marlboro's success led to much imitative competition. The FTC reported that one of the popular cigarette advertising strategies of the 1960's was the use of images portraying "personality characteristics which the advertiser hopes will appeal to the audience of existing and potential cigarette smokers ... The classic example of this approach is the Marlboro cowboy C ruggedly masculine, self-sufficient ... The theme of masculine independence has been used by several other advertisers (FTC 1970, p.8)." Ads for Camel, Newport and Old Gold were named as examples, and Virginia Slims in a parallel manner appealed to feminine independence, then as now. Neither the Marlboro campaign, nor the Virginia Slims campaign, have been substantially altered in more than twenty years, a rare stability that is a sure indicator of their strategic soundness and success.

Many ad campaigns over the years have featured racers of cars, motorcycles, speedboats, etc. Many brands, like Camel, Marlboro and Winston in the U.S. and Player's and Rothmans in Canada, sponsor racing events and teams on an on-going basis. There is more to this than simply appealing to young men's interest in fast cars and other machines. A commercial study of a Viceroy campaign featuring close-ups of "a young man in auto racing garb" found that subtle visual differences, caused by the model's appearance, positioning, or other staging devices or decisions, had large effects upon consumer reactions. A test ad strongly communicated "positive personality characteristics including courageousness, independence, adventurousness and aggressiveness (Schwartz 1976, p.75)."

The sponsorship of racing car events by Marlboro may at first seem inconsistent with the cowboy character, but it is not. Philip Morris' Vice-President of Marketing Services, Ellen Merlo, explained: "We perceive Formula One and Indy car racing as adding, if you will, a modern-day dimension to the Marlboro Man. The image of Marlboro is very rugged, individualistic, heroic. And so is this style of auto racing. From an image standpoint, the fit is good (Marlboro 1989, p.5A)."

The President and CEO of Philip Morris International, Mr. R. W. Murray, discussed the Marlboro Man more generally and echoed this analysis, adding an aspect of self reliance: "The cowboy has appeal to people as a personality. There are elements of adventure, freedom, being in charge of your destiny (Trachtenberg 1987, p.109)." An ad executive who heads the account for a leading female brand, and who requested anonymity, was quoted by the Wall Street Journal: "We try to tap the emerging independence and self-fulfilment of women, to make smoking a badge to express that (Waldman 1989)."

The Importance of Images

The academic literature also recognizes that many teens believe that cigarettes enhance one's sense of maturity and reputation for autonomy (Covington and Omelich 1988). Teens may use smoking as a means of enhancing their identity (Burton, et al. 1989), or as a way of projecting an image of self (Leventhal, et al. 1991). Academic research has also suggests that cigarette advertising has predisposing as well as reinforcing effects on children's attitudes and behavior with respect to smoking (e.g. Aitken, et al. 1991). Cigarette marketers carefully craft youthful brand images which exemplify traits that the largest number of adolescents are most likely to find highly attractive - independence, freedom from authority, autonomy, self-reliance.

Positive lifestyle images are also believed by the industry to effect the continued social acceptability of smoking, as everyone is exposed to the advertising campaigns and their imagery, whether a smoker or not, whether old or young. This imagery rehearses and shapes the perceptions of smoking, both in general and for a specific brand, potentially biasing judgments about the popularity of smoking, the healthfulness of smoking, the social approval of smoking, and the independence and self-reliance characteristic of nicotine addicts. It is assumed to influence perceptions and attitudes, not only of smokers and pre-smokers, but also of their family and friends, the parents and peers of the youth target market that is the future of the industry.


Careful and extensive consumer research has been employed in all stages of the process of conceiving, developing, refining and deploying cigarette advertising strategy. The marketing research excerpts presented here sample the wealth of information and analysis which the tobacco industry has lavished on the youth starter market. This research provides the firms with considerable insight into smokers and starters, their motivations, perceptions, attitudes, interests and responses to test advertising. The research and strategic thinking identifies the psychological needs, wants and interests of the target segments, and leads to the creation of a strategic positioning of the products, presenting them in ways that promise satisfactions of their psychological needs.

For starter brands, such as America's Marlboro and Canada's Player's and Export A, images are created to address the adolescent need for adult independence, self reliance, and freedom from authority. Many ads also promote peer acceptance among targeted young people. The advertising images for brands targeting the young portray smokers as autonomous and adult, athletic and at home in nature. Test markets and copy testing has teaches cigarette advertising to craft these images carefully, avoiding models which are too young, lest the brand be rejected as immature, and avoiding activities that are too aerobic, lest the ad precipitate cognitive counter-arguing. The overall effect of these "images of independence" and "pictures of health" is intended to capture starters and promote the social acceptability of smoking.


Advertising Age (1983), "Is the Youth Market Fair Game," Advertising Age, (January 31), M-16ff.

Aitken, P. P., et al. (1991), "Predisposing Effects of Cigarette Advertising on Children's Intentions to Smoke When Older," British Journal of Addiction, 86(4), 383-390.

Burton, Dee, et. al. (1989), "Image Attributions and Smoking Intentions Among Seventh Grade Students," Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 19(8, pt. 1), 656-664.

Covington, Martin V. and Carol L. Omelich (1988), "I Can Resist Anything But Temptation: Adolescent Expectations for Smoking Cigarettes," Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 18(3, Pt 1), 203-227.

(FTC 1970), "Report to Congress, Pursuant to the Public Health Smoking Act." Washington, D.C., Federal Trade Commission (Dec. 31).

(Fortune 1963), "Embattled Tobacco's New Strategy," Fortune, January, p.100ff.

Leventhal, Howard, et al. (1991), "Smoking Prevention: Towards a Process Approach," British Journal of Addiction, 86(5), 583-587.

(Marlboro 1989), "The Business of Racing," Marlboro Advertisement in New York Times Magazine, July 9, p.5A.

Meyers, William (1984), The Image-Makers: Power and Persuasion on Madison Avenue. NY: New York Times Books.

Pollay, Richard W. (1990a), "The Functions and Management of Cigarette Advertising," for Quebec Superior Court, Imperial Tobacco Limitee & RJR-Macdonald Inc. c. Le Procureur General du Canada, 38p.

Pollay, Richard W. (1990b), "Propaganda, Puffing and the Public Interest: The Scientific Smoke Screen for Cigarettes," Public Relations Review, Vol. 16 #3, 27-42.

Pollay, Richard W. (1992a), "The Functions and Management of Cigarette Advertising (Condensed)," in William Leiss, ed., Tobacco on Trial. Montreal: McGill-Queens University Press, in press.

Pollay, Richard W. (1992b), "When Advertising Ethics Went up In Smoke: Cigarettes, Self-Regulation, Teens and TV," History of Advertising Archives Working Paper, in review.

Schwartz, David A. (1976), "What Do Ads Connote for the Average Smoker?" Advertising Age, November 1, p.75.

Trachtenberg, Jeffrey A. (1987), "Here's One Tough Cowboy," Forbes, February 9, p.108-110.

Waldman, Peter (1989), "Tobacco Firms Try Soft, Feminine Sell," Wall Street Journal, December 19, p.B1ff.



Richard W. Pollay, University of British Columbia
Anne M. Lavack, University of British Columbia


NA - Advances in Consumer Research Volume 20 | 1993

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