The Smoker’s Persona

Today’s society is engulfed in all sorts of corporate advertising, one of these advertisers being Camel cigarettes. Since their product is one that can be directly linked to health problems, they not only advertise to boost sales but also to sway public opinion. In this particular advertisement, Camel solely targets men by creating a persona of rugged men who are sexually attractive and unafraid of death and danger.

Camel attempts to sell its product by creating and marketing a distinct persona of the rugged man to its customers. This rugged man persona can be seen in the jungle setting, which gives the ad a sense of adventure as well. This can further be seen in the hat of the man on the right, a hat which an adventurous outdoors person, Indiana Jones for example, might wear, and the fact that the two men in the pot are both showing signs of facial hair, a symbol of outdoor adventure and even some defiance of society. Where as a proper person would shave or grow a neat, well maintained beard or mustache, these men, who look as if the haven’t shaved in a day or two, don’t care about proper facial hair etiquette. This persona of rugged, unshaven men who might go against societal norms, particularly the increasing unpopularity of smoking, is the kind of man Camel is trying to create and sell in its advertising.

Another appealing trait Camel is trying to portray in its targeting of men is the popular aspect of sex-appeal. Because today’s society is based mostly on looks, this is a popular theme in most advertisements. The ad uses handsome men and attractive women. Instead of two women, though, the advertisement emphasizes this sex-appeal by the use of five women. Two of the women are massaging the men, so there is a definite message that smoking Camel cigarettes will make one more attractive and popular with ladies. This persona of handsome men who get multiple, attractive women at once further helps to make Camel cigarettes more appealing to men.

There is a specific group of people that this ad is targeting with its overtones of ruggedness and sexiness and since there are five girls to two guys, this target is obviously men. Since everyone is white, the advertisement is most likely meant to attract white males. There are no direct indicators of which class of people this ad is going after, but there is evidence as to what kind of people it is pointed at. Since the ad portrays young, healthy, attractive people, it is most likely aimed at younger white males. The environment used in the ad however tells us more about these people. Because of the persona created by the jungle environment, the ad is meant to attract those who dream about being adventurous and rugged. This group of white males might possibly live in the city and lead a life which is less adventuresome than they might want. Because they desire a little adventure in their life, if only for a little while instead of permanent change, the persona generated in this ad, which can be realized by smoking Camel cigarettes, is very appealing to them, making for a very effective advertisement.

Along with these desirable traits of sex-appeal and ruggedness comes fearlessness, something that is also generated by this ad. In particular, this advertisement generates a sense of trivialization of death. The ad consists of two men who are slowly being boiled alive by five women cannibals. The use of scantily clad beautiful women however makes this gruesome act somewhat appealing. Most who see this ad focus on how lucky the two men are instead of feeling sorry for the pain that they will soon feel. Male viewers of this advertisement say "what a way to go" instead of "oh, those two poor souls!" This glorification of death is a major part of this advertisement. By placing the Surgeon General’s Warning at the bottom of the ad in the fire, its negative effects on the sale of tobacco are minimized while still playing a role in the message of the ad. The first way this works is in the placement of the warning next to the "Viewer Discretion Advised" sign, which, due to its larger size, attracts the attention of the consumer when he or she glances at the bottom of the ad rather than the Surgeon General’s Warning. The second way this placement works to the company’s advantage is in a more complex, but still central way to the glorification of death. Being in the fire below the cauldron, the warning, which represents cigarettes, fuels the fire and subsequent death of the men both literally and figuratively. Since death is portrayed as an almost sexual experience if you are smoking, Camel cigarettes become an appealing product. They help you achieve all the characteristics in the ad, and even if they do kill you, you will not mind because you will be enjoying yourself in the process. It is in this way that Camel targets men who want to be sexually attractive and fearless of death.

By carefully targeting certain groups, Camel cigarettes have made their product an attractive substance regardless of their known adverse health effects. By showing appealing qualities, Camel makes their product equally appealing. This tactic is obvious through Camel’s targeting of white men who dream of having the characteristics of ruggedness, attractiveness, and fearlessness of death created by this advertisement.