Sample Content Analysis: The 50s Cigarette Print Advertisement from Camel (Demo)

Content Analysis of the 50s Cigarette Print Advertisement from Camel

Brief Outline of the Content Analysis Task

  • Prescribed Question: If the text had been written in a different time, how and why might it differ?
  • Title of the Text: “More Doctors Smoke Camels”
  • The Content of the Task:
    • Description of the text or print advertisement under analysis, discussing its contents or the messages it is trying to convey
    • Response to the prescribed question, explaining how the text might be different if written in a different time, particularly the modern time
    • Further analysis of the text, including explanation on why it was written that way
    • Discussion of how and why would the print advertisement would be different if it was produced today

Response to the Question Involving the Print Advertisement

Description of the text or print advertisement under analysis, discussing its contents or the messages it is trying to convey

Response to the prescribed question, explaining how the text might be different if written in a different time, particularly the modern time

Further analysis of the text, including explanation of why it was written that way

Discussion of how and why would the print advertisement would be different if it was produced today

Response to the Question Involving the Print Advertisement

The 1950s print advertisement from cigarette brand Camel and its specific Costlier Tobacco cigarette product carried a headline that read, “According to recent national surveys, more doctors smoke Camels than any other cigarette.” A brief text accompanied this headline and explained that there were three surveys conducted and participated by over a hundred thousand doctors ranging from general physicians, diagnosticians, surgeons, and nose and throat specialists. Results revealed that majority of these survey doctors preferred to smoke, and a considerable portion of them prefer smoking Camel Costlier Tobacco. There was also another brief text explaining the T-Zone concept in which the quality of a cigarette can be judged by how it tastes and what it does to the throat of the smoker.

With regard to the visual language used in the print advertisement, it was not really striking or thought provoking. The material relied heavily on text or in written language. Perhaps, it is safe to assume that the print advertisement intended to persuade its target audience by using logos and ethos appeals or appeals to reason and authority. This was very obvious based on the content and tone of the written language. For example, in appealing to reason, the headline and text mentioned that a national survey involving doctors revealed a strong endorsement of cigarette smoking and the use of Camel cigarette brand. The fact that there were studies conducted meant that there were data and facts to support the claim of Camel. This appealed to reason or logic. Note that mentioning doctors in the written language also indicated an appeal using authority. If the reason was not enough, people have the tendency to rely on established figures or authority to validate claims. Nevertheless, the entire message of the print advertisement not only suggested but also argued that cigarette smoking was safe because even a considerable number of healthcare practitioners, especially physicians with different specializations, across the U.S. were hooked into such habit.

In taking into consideration the standards of today, it is undeniable that the print advertisement is alarming and scandalous because it not only promotes smoking but also endorses it by using healthcare practitioners. Of course, it is important to take note of the context surrounding the publication and circulation of the print advertisement. During the early days of the tobacco industry in the United States, including the 1950s, cigarette smoking was associated with glamorous lifestyle. Hollywood celebrities and other public figures were regularly seen smoking. The acceptance from the general public was largely positive. In addition, there were still no strong evidence against the health hazards associated with cigarette smoking although there were suspicions from the scientific and medical communities. However, in the middle of these emerging suspicions, it is safe to assume that Camel published and circulated the aforementioned print advertisement to comfort the people and assure them that cigarette smoking was safe and further promote the habit using appeals to reason and authority.

However, in consideration of social norms and even established standards of today, the print advertisement would not exist. No publisher would allow such marketing message to appear in his or her publication in the first place. In addition, no creative or advertising agency in their right minds would produce or agree to produce such advertisement for a large company like Camel. In using the same tactic involving doctors to validate the positive claims associated with cigarette smoking, no healthcare practitioners in their right minds would endorse the habit. If anyone would endorse it, this practitioner would have to face the ire of the public and his or her credibility would be discredited outright. Social norms suggest that smoking is dangerous to health. Scientific studies and discourses conducted and published over the decades revealed that smoking causes serious health problems to include cardiovascular diseases, respiratory ailments, and has also been strongly associated with the development of lung and throat cancer. Note that medical organizations have concluded that tobacco is a carcinogen. The chemicals in tobacco products cause health cells to mutate and become cancerous. Thus, the same tactic employed by Camel in the 1950s would not work today because of contemporary social norms.

There are also established standards regarding advertisements and overall marketing. Take note that the aforementioned print advertisement cited that the claims as based on three national surveys and that doctors endorsed cigarette smoking. In using such tactic today, relevant organizations such as non-profit advertising boards and consumer watch organizations or advocates would openly challenge the claims and merits made by Camel. It is also important to mention that there are government agencies in the US established to protect the interest of consumers. The Federal Trade Commission has been tasked by the US government to monitor companies that make exaggerated or false claims. There are grave consequences for such misleading marketing. Some companies have been fined millions of dollars and have also shelled another million of dollars to settle lawsuits. The same agency has also been tasked to ban the advertisement of particular products. In fact, advertisements involving cigarettes have been prohibited in television and radio, as well as in outdoor mediums such as billboards. Government regulation has also instructed tobacco companies to add health warning in their advertisements as well as in the packaging of their products.

In answering the prescribed question above, if the print advertisement has been produced today, it would be completely different in terms of its advertising message. It would not carry the same tactic employed by Camel. This is because social norms and established standards have prohibited tobacco companies from promoting their products that would undermine the serious health hazards associated with cigarette smoking. The general public and the US government are now critical about the quality of the advertising and marketing employed by companies. Because cigarettes are controversial products, it remains under the radar of different stakeholders to include advertising groups, consumer watchdogs, healthcare practitioners, and the government.

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