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Lucky Strike Rhetorical Analysis Essay

I chose to write about the “Reach for a LUCKY instead of a sweet” ad created by Lucky Strike cigarettes and how they appealed to the average American woman of the 1920’s. We’ll be going over what the average American woman of the 20’s was as well as why they were so fascinated with smoking cigarettes. Didn’t they know that cigarettes cause cancer? Didn’t they know that they could die, and leave their loved ones behind because of cancer? Did they truly believe that cigarettes were the miracle to keeping them skinny? Or do you think that cigarettes were more of an accessory than a need to be happy and healthy? The truth is, ads like this target women who want to look sexy and keep their slim figures, or maybe even lose weight, but also believe that what they are doing is healthy. This ad was successful in targeting women because it specifically targeted women who were looking to be more independent and sexy. I believe it was successful in appealing to a woman’s emotion, reasoning and its creditability.

The “Reach for a LUCKY instead of a sweet” advertisement was created in the 1920’s. They were known for their slogan “It’s Toasted” which informed their consumers that their manufacturing method toasted their tobacco rather than sun drying it, making the cigarette’s taste more desirable. This appealed to women because it told them that not only were cigarettes great for them, but they tasted good as well.

When women got the ability to vote in 1920, there launched an era of the “New Woman.” They shortened their skirts, wore heavy make-up and hair products, cut their hair short, starting drinking and smoking. Notice in the advertisement a woman with short dark hair with her lips scrunched as if she was blowing a kiss. It speaks to a woman’s inner attractiveness, the need to feel strong by the use of their provocative beauty. She is also wearing a lot of makeup, and bright red lipstick. She is also wearing what looks like a string top or string dress, bearing her shoulders which was a very seductive thing of that age. The top of the ad states “To keep a slender figure, No one can deny…” implied that not only smoking, but smoking LUCKY STRIKES would keep your body skinny and slender like the beautiful and seductive woman in the middle of the advertisement.

I also feel that bolding the word “LUCKY” and making it all caps while the other words are in small caps around the word “LUCKY” is a creative way to make the brand stick out. Because let’s face the facts, Lucky Strike didn’t want to advertise the ‘health benefits’ of smoking, they wanted to advertise their brand of smoking and why it was healthier than other brands. I think that the main attraction of this advertisement is the woman in the middle. She is strong and confident looking and what woman doesn’t want to be like that? It draws you in to thinking that if you smoked cigarettes like that than you might have the confidence that this woman has. In a bright red circle, it says “Reach for a LUCKY instead of a sweet,” tells you, a woman trying to keep her figure, that when you have a craving for sweet foods, which can cause weight gain, why not reach for a cigarette which will curb your craving for sweets? “No Throat Irritation—No Cough” tells me that the tobacco is not as irritating to my throat as other cigarettes.

Although this line is not supported by medical doctors who can confirm the statement, it lead women to believe that the statement was true. Smoking, especially smoking among women was probably one of the greatest fads of the century. You would rarely walk into a doctor’s office, grocery store, restaurant or even someone’s home and not see a woman smoking. It was part of fashion. You see a beautiful woman in an ad where she’s smoking and you think, “I want be beautiful like that, I’ll try smoking those cigarettes.” It’s the same thing as looking at an ad where a woman has shiny healthy looking hair because of the product and thinking “I could have that hair if I use this product too.”

Do I think the “Reach for a LUCKY instead of a sweet” ad was effective? Yes, I do. In the 1920’s and well into the 1960’s it was definitely effective. So, did women know that cigarettes cause cancer? No. Did they know that they could die, and leave their loved ones behind from cancer? Certainly not. Did they truly believe that cigarettes were the miracle to keeping them skinny? Yes! And that is why this ad and many other cigarette ads like it were so convincing and persuasive.

The American woman, who gained notoriety to become more independent, having the ability to do something that once only a man could do in public. This may have seemed like a simple advertisement, but I believe that it appealed to the American woman, the kind of woman that was free and individualistic. The kind of woman that believed in beauty and health, and what better delivered all of that on a silver plate than Lucky Strike cigarettes. This advertisement was certainly successful in appealing to a woman’s reasoning and emotion by use of their advertisement and creditability.


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