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6. Application of anthropological categories

6.1 Transitions in display of masculinity and
its influence

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Masculinity is one of the standards that
greatly divide the advertising styles of the past and the present. In the first
cohort, the videos from 1970s to 90s, it is evident that most of them try to
show off how gentleness, handsomeness, and popularity when “smoking like a
man.” Videos often show sporty style of men, fit and well shaped in a masculine
and elegant atmosphere, providing people with the idea that the customers too
can become just like one of them by smoking. Also, by showing how one can
become so attractive and look so intelligent by smoking, it pretty much reflects
most of the appealing features a person can have.

 

However,
the question is, can smoking a cigarette really make people become so charming?
Can one really be smart, well-shaped, and become popular just by smoking a cigarette?
Of course not. These advertisements appeal to all men’s desire to become like
that by stimulating their innate wants. For females too, these features can be
portrayed not only as a “manly” privileges, but it also gives idea that they
too, can become like one of them longing for those attractive features men have.
The cigarette advertisement is primarily designed
to create various fantasies of sophistication, pleasure, social success,
independence or ruggedness (Saffer and Chaloupka 1999, 2). These attributes
become the product personality which advertisers expect will appeal to specific
consumers (2). Especially
in this era when women’s power is becoming greater and their desire to catch up
to men is immense than ever, women too can easily be attracted to these
advertisements. By smoking a cigarette, women can too, find equality (Brandt
2007, 78) and have temporary feelings of similarity and “masculinity.” Youth is
no exception. In fact, a research shows that tobacco marketing contributes
substantially to the smoking behavior of young people (Mackay, Eriksen,
Schluger 2015, 52). One third of youth experimentation occurs as a result of
exposure to tobacco advertising, promotion, and sponsorship, and 78% of youth
aged 13-15 report regular exposure to tobacco marketing world wide (52). In the
stormy period of adolescence that greatly long for becoming and acting like an
adult, smoking commercials could give them a false image that it can make them outgoing
and become just like adults. In other words, smoking can be an outlet that let
youth fulfill their very desire and wants. Relatively unconscious about health
issues of smoking but with strong desire for “coolness”, youth can easily fall
into these temptations.

 

As
it turned to 21st century, far less masculine symbols are presented
in tobacco advertisements. If the masculinity of the 20th century showed
features of superficiality of manliness, the recent commercials focus more into
values and harmonious perspective that can be attained through smoking. Simply
put, the advertisements in the past looked like a teenage boy going through his
puberty trying to look cool and handsome, while the contemporary videos are
more like a grown up father who values inner characteristics. Focusing on
responsibility, harmony with non smokers and respecting diversity, the
advertisers are aware of the changes in the social atmosphere, which people now
are more conscious about cigarette facts and are not tricked simply by the
beauty of masculinity. They now look for tactics that surpass these
characteristics, targeting deeper into people’s rationality and beliefs so that
they can achieve greater goals to settle smoking issues and pursue profit.

 

6.2 Transitions of fetishism in anthropology

Goldman
(1922) explores how advertising constructs ‘commodity signs’ by linking
specific commodities to what Williamson (1978) calls ‘referent systems’ (Papathanassopoulos
2011, 151). When done successfully, advertising creates ‘sign value’ to enhance
the use and exchange of commodities (151). Goldman notes that advertising
extends the mystification process inherent in modern capitalist commodities by
equating social values with commodities (151). In this case, it would be
smoking being equal to happiness or gentleness. Moreover, consumers are also
commercially ‘constructed’ as persons who have desires and lifestyles
consistent with or even requiring the product, as the phrase ‘lifestyle
marketing’ signals (Leiss 2005)

 

Fetishism of the early videos are presented
in a way that link people with happiness by smoking. Just like how the Seven
Stars Tobacco from the fourth video states the in its
narration: “Being picky about the real one make one’s life very delicious,” the
advertisers try to decorate smoking by putting beautiful meaning behind it with
intriguing ideas, reminding its customers that they can feel it too if they
purchase their product. Although smoking, when looked in a real life level, is
nothing more than habitual practice of what is bad to one’s health health, though
some say it can relieve stress and promote conversations with others, it is
packaged with all these decorative fetishes that manipulates people’s image
towards smoking.

 

However,
fetishism in the 21st century is presented in a way mainly shaping
out brand images, as well as highlighting a person’s inner beauty rather than
outer one. Smokers as well as the cigarette companies are depicted as the ones
who have the vision in making world a better place to live through coexistence
and respect. By showing images of picking up cigarette butts and their efforts
to improve smoking environment through separation of smokers and non-smokers,
the advertisers emphasize how the company care so much about different parts in
our society by implementing fetish of harmony and respect towards smokers. Now,
by watching these advertisements, the viewers slowly begin to justify their
co-existence with smokers, hold and suppress terrible pain caused
by second hand smoke, which is also the feature that is established as a norm
by these advertisements. Indeed, this advertisement strategy is extremely
clever in that it controls people’s beliefs, appealing to emotion despite a
clear fact that cigarettes are still bad to one’s health. This fetish provides
advertisers with a leverage to improve the image of the smoking “system” that
goes far beyond merely selling the products; leading to customers’ “rational”
and “justified” consumption of their products.

 

6.3 Transitions in language of commercials
and anthropology of advertising

Leiss, Kline and Sut (2005) argues that their
study of advertising imagery shows a richly textured and artfully constructed
set of messages whose common purpose is to bind together persons and products
(203). The message formats evolve in a series of stages, as advertising practice
is shaped by, and helps to shape, new possibilities provided by communication
technologies.

 

‘Fresh’, ‘peace’ and
‘mild.’ These are some of the key narrations that are mentioned in the tobacco
advertisements back in 70s to 90s. It was significantly common for companies to
link these words into their products so that customers are attracted to these
features and purchase their products. Also, by mentioning that they have good
filters in the 1980s, the period when people began to recognize the dangers of
smoking, companies could reshape their image by getting into the “filter wars.”
By inventing various filters that are claimed to be healthier than previous
models and that of the others, advertisers endeavored to project “relative
healthiness” into their products. Also, often by playing a charming classic
music as luxurious pictures, the commercials had been successful in targeting
people’s wants to become luxurious. Likewise, by correctly reading the
atmosphere of the society as well as human’s natural wants, the companies have
successfully maintained their markets until today.

 

‘Manners’ ‘difference’
‘respect.’ When it comes to the 21st century, the trend of the
language of commercials changed. With people already conscious about health
issues and non-smoker’s rights becoming prioritized in many parts of the world including
Japan, commercial companies came up with the idea of “Harmony.” Also, the
companies already being aware that merely promoting ‘fresh’, ‘peace’ and ‘mild’
like 1970s to 90s could face limitations in contemporary Japan, they are making
strategic movement by trying to ‘justify’ smoking rather than merely ‘promoting’
it. This approach is outstanding in that Japan, which is often referred to as a
“homogeneity society,” which does not want social troubles. The polarization of
smokers rights and non-smokers right certainly is not an issue that is welcomed
yet must be solved. Thus, the cigarette company is targeting this very
perspective in order to gain society’s acknowledgement and trust so that the
health issues can be offset by emotions and patience of society.

 

7. Future prospect

For decades, Japanese tobacco industry went
through huge changes and social challenges, yet has survived and is still
thriving largely owing to its clever ability to read the trend and wants of its
society. Therefore, there is no doubt that they would continue to thrive in the
future.

 

Soon after, it is probable that more and more
findings of negative effects of smoking cigarette would be discovered as
science and medicine improves. People will be aware of it, and the companies
would execute all-out lobby war in order to persuade its government and
customers to purchase their product.

 

Beyond pursuing harmony, which is the current
tactics, companies would need stronger sanctions in order to rationalize
smoking, by calming down the expansion of non-smoker’s rights, which limits
smoker’s freedom. Therefore, along with technological improvement to minimizing
the health damage just like the invention of electric cigarettes, a new
anthropological strategy and efforts would be introduced.

 

I anticipate that the advertising targets be
diversified. If it was men and masculinity that largely influenced tobacco
industry, it is now women and youth who would become the major targets in the
future. According to the WHO analysis (WHO 2008), high-income countries,
including Australia, Canada, the United States of America and most countries of
western Europe, women smoke at nearly the same rate as men. Particularly in
this era where more Japanese women are smoking cigarettes along with women’s
advancement to career world, cigarette can be introduced as a perfect outlet to
reliving stress and even out the social gap with that of men. Of course, people
already do know the harmful effects of tobacco, but as this habit becomes mundane
as time passes, they will become dull about the issue, as we are subject to
being relaxed once we are used to it. This means that there is high chance of
advertising styles returning to that of 1970s to 90s, to a more stimulating and
convincing content. Advertising models again, would show comfort and freshness
of smoking and show positive fetishes about smoking using sensational words
that stimulate people.

 

Now, women are the blue oceans in the
cigarette industry, while male customers can be referred to as worn out fossil
fuel. Also, the companies will turn their attention more into youth group in
order to construct more concrete foundations for smoking cigarettes, alluring
as if cigarettes are providing outlets from loaded school works and
ever-competitive college entrance stresses. Therefore, various products will be
introduced in order to suit their taste, and more colorful and different kinds
of cigarettes would be introduced. For instance, pink cigarette would largely
gain the attention of the ladies in order to suit their feminist wants, and
cigarettes would come in different color and form in order to satisfy the taste
of youth.

 

If it were men that were protagonists in
cigarette advertisements, more women will appear on these them. Now it is the
role of women and maternity can become the prime targets of the smoking
commercials, bringing about a whole new trend of smoking advertisements. For
instance, it could show a housewife having a peaceful moment of smoking at a
balcony after sending her children to school and husband to work. Indeed, this
strategy could be largely efficient in various perspectives. First, lades can
have a right justification for smoking. As housewives are worn out from house
works, cigarette can be represented as an outlet from the stress. Looking at
the wife, or a mother finding rest in smoking, both husband and children can
become more understandable about smoking Second, it can attract both men and
children to smoking. By showing a wife, or a mother smoking in a house, it is
likely that the family members will naturally be exposed to smoking, accepting
it as a norm. Lastly, homes can be understood as a place with freedom of
smoking. Once this concept spreads, it is easier for people to accept smoking
in public places as well since they become more used to this habit.

 

Likewise, the representation of female and
maternity in smoking could bring about a huge impact in the smoking culture and
commercials thanks to the combined effect of anthropological concepts;
providing a platform and a ripple effect of the spread of smoking habit in all
parts of our society. Focus on masculinity will turn into femininity, and the
“fetishism of femininity” will become the major trend in the smoking
advertisement industry. Also, various linguistic and anthropological features
of maternity and femininity will be applied to draw people into tobacco
consumption, bringing about another social issues to solve.

 

8. Conclusion

A
set of visual contents above present various features and implications of
smoking and culture. First of all, the smoker’s identity depicted in the
commercials show that the perspective of smoking has largely changed overtime.
As people became more aware of health issues, merely emphasizing the beauty of
smoking does not seem to be influential as it turned to the 21st
century. The 21st century commercials, instead of directly promoting
its product, tries to give impression that the company truly cares about their
customers, and that smoking cigarette is a normal behavior that deserves to be
respected. Also by stressing that the smokers are thoughtful and are careful
not to pose discomfort to non-smokers, it tries to convey the image that
smokers and non-smokers can coexist without a trouble. The identity shift
witnessed here is that while smokers back in 1970s and 90s were depicted as
handsome, artistic, and outgoing, while those in the recent days are pictured
as gentle and thoughtful. All in all, the smoker’s identity has continuously
changed and adapted to the society throughout the course of history in
relations to the society’s atmosphere and needs. From now on, it is expected
that the female’s role and maternity will become emphasized and utilized in
these advertisements as they settled as one of the most influential entities of
our society.

 

 

 

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