6. Application of anthropological categories 6.1 Transitions in display of masculinity andits influenceMasculinity is one of the standards thatgreatly divide the advertising styles of the past and the present. In the firstcohort, the videos from 1970s to 90s, it is evident that most of them try toshow off how gentleness, handsomeness, and popularity when “smoking like aman.” Videos often show sporty style of men, fit and well shaped in a masculineand elegant atmosphere, providing people with the idea that the customers toocan become just like one of them by smoking. Also, by showing how one canbecome so attractive and look so intelligent by smoking, it pretty much reflectsmost 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 likethat by stimulating their innate wants. For females too, these features can beportrayed not only as a “manly” privileges, but it also gives idea that theytoo, can become like one of them longing for those attractive features men have.The cigarette advertisement is primarily designedto create various fantasies of sophistication, pleasure, social success,independence or ruggedness (Saffer and Chaloupka 1999, 2).
These attributesbecome the product personality which advertisers expect will appeal to specificconsumers (2). Especiallyin this era when women’s power is becoming greater and their desire to catch upto men is immense than ever, women too can easily be attracted to theseadvertisements. By smoking a cigarette, women can too, find equality (Brandt2007, 78) and have temporary feelings of similarity and “masculinity.” Youth isno exception. In fact, a research shows that tobacco marketing contributessubstantially to the smoking behavior of young people (Mackay, Eriksen,Schluger 2015, 52). One third of youth experimentation occurs as a result ofexposure to tobacco advertising, promotion, and sponsorship, and 78% of youthaged 13-15 report regular exposure to tobacco marketing world wide (52). In thestormy period of adolescence that greatly long for becoming and acting like anadult, smoking commercials could give them a false image that it can make them outgoingand become just like adults.
In other words, smoking can be an outlet that letyouth fulfill their very desire and wants. Relatively unconscious about healthissues of smoking but with strong desire for “coolness”, youth can easily fallinto these temptations. Asit turned to 21st century, far less masculine symbols are presentedin tobacco advertisements.
If the masculinity of the 20th century showedfeatures of superficiality of manliness, the recent commercials focus more intovalues and harmonious perspective that can be attained through smoking. Simplyput, the advertisements in the past looked like a teenage boy going through hispuberty trying to look cool and handsome, while the contemporary videos aremore like a grown up father who values inner characteristics. Focusing onresponsibility, harmony with non smokers and respecting diversity, theadvertisers are aware of the changes in the social atmosphere, which people noware more conscious about cigarette facts and are not tricked simply by thebeauty of masculinity. They now look for tactics that surpass thesecharacteristics, targeting deeper into people’s rationality and beliefs so thatthey can achieve greater goals to settle smoking issues and pursue profit.
6.2 Transitions of fetishism in anthropologyGoldman(1922) explores how advertising constructs ‘commodity signs’ by linkingspecific commodities to what Williamson (1978) calls ‘referent systems’ (Papathanassopoulos2011, 151). When done successfully, advertising creates ‘sign value’ to enhancethe use and exchange of commodities (151). Goldman notes that advertisingextends the mystification process inherent in modern capitalist commodities byequating social values with commodities (151). In this case, it would besmoking being equal to happiness or gentleness.
Moreover, consumers are alsocommercially ‘constructed’ as persons who have desires and lifestylesconsistent with or even requiring the product, as the phrase ‘lifestylemarketing’ signals (Leiss 2005) Fetishism of the early videos are presentedin a way that link people with happiness by smoking. Just like how the SevenStars Tobacco from the fourth video states the in itsnarration: “Being picky about the real one make one’s life very delicious,” theadvertisers try to decorate smoking by putting beautiful meaning behind it withintriguing ideas, reminding its customers that they can feel it too if theypurchase their product. Although smoking, when looked in a real life level, isnothing more than habitual practice of what is bad to one’s health health, thoughsome say it can relieve stress and promote conversations with others, it ispackaged with all these decorative fetishes that manipulates people’s imagetowards smoking. However,fetishism in the 21st century is presented in a way mainly shapingout brand images, as well as highlighting a person’s inner beauty rather thanouter one.
Smokers as well as the cigarette companies are depicted as the oneswho have the vision in making world a better place to live through coexistenceand respect. By showing images of picking up cigarette butts and their effortsto improve smoking environment through separation of smokers and non-smokers,the advertisers emphasize how the company care so much about different parts inour society by implementing fetish of harmony and respect towards smokers. Now,by watching these advertisements, the viewers slowly begin to justify theirco-existence with smokers, hold and suppress terrible pain causedby second hand smoke, which is also the feature that is established as a normby these advertisements.
Indeed, this advertisement strategy is extremelyclever in that it controls people’s beliefs, appealing to emotion despite aclear fact that cigarettes are still bad to one’s health. This fetish providesadvertisers with a leverage to improve the image of the smoking “system” thatgoes far beyond merely selling the products; leading to customers’ “rational”and “justified” consumption of their products. 6.3 Transitions in language of commercialsand anthropology of advertisingLeiss, Kline and Sut (2005) argues that theirstudy of advertising imagery shows a richly textured and artfully constructedset of messages whose common purpose is to bind together persons and products(203). The message formats evolve in a series of stages, as advertising practiceis shaped by, and helps to shape, new possibilities provided by communicationtechnologies. ‘Fresh’, ‘peace’ and’mild.’ These are some of the key narrations that are mentioned in the tobaccoadvertisements back in 70s to 90s.
It was significantly common for companies tolink these words into their products so that customers are attracted to thesefeatures and purchase their products. Also, by mentioning that they have goodfilters in the 1980s, the period when people began to recognize the dangers ofsmoking, companies could reshape their image by getting into the “filter wars.”By inventing various filters that are claimed to be healthier than previousmodels and that of the others, advertisers endeavored to project “relativehealthiness” into their products.
Also, often by playing a charming classicmusic as luxurious pictures, the commercials had been successful in targetingpeople’s wants to become luxurious. Likewise, by correctly reading theatmosphere of the society as well as human’s natural wants, the companies havesuccessfully maintained their markets until today. ‘Manners’ ‘difference”respect.’ When it comes to the 21st century, the trend of thelanguage of commercials changed.
With people already conscious about healthissues and non-smoker’s rights becoming prioritized in many parts of the world includingJapan, commercial companies came up with the idea of “Harmony.” Also, thecompanies already being aware that merely promoting ‘fresh’, ‘peace’ and ‘mild’like 1970s to 90s could face limitations in contemporary Japan, they are makingstrategic 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 ofsmokers rights and non-smokers right certainly is not an issue that is welcomedyet must be solved.
Thus, the cigarette company is targeting this veryperspective in order to gain society’s acknowledgement and trust so that thehealth issues can be offset by emotions and patience of society. 7. Future prospect For decades, Japanese tobacco industry wentthrough huge changes and social challenges, yet has survived and is stillthriving largely owing to its clever ability to read the trend and wants of itssociety.
Therefore, there is no doubt that they would continue to thrive in thefuture. Soon after, it is probable that more and morefindings of negative effects of smoking cigarette would be discovered asscience and medicine improves. People will be aware of it, and the companieswould execute all-out lobby war in order to persuade its government andcustomers to purchase their product. Beyond pursuing harmony, which is the currenttactics, companies would need stronger sanctions in order to rationalizesmoking, by calming down the expansion of non-smoker’s rights, which limitssmoker’s freedom.
Therefore, along with technological improvement to minimizingthe health damage just like the invention of electric cigarettes, a newanthropological strategy and efforts would be introduced. I anticipate that the advertising targets bediversified. If it was men and masculinity that largely influenced tobaccoindustry, it is now women and youth who would become the major targets in thefuture. According to the WHO analysis (WHO 2008), high-income countries,including Australia, Canada, the United States of America and most countries ofwestern Europe, women smoke at nearly the same rate as men. Particularly inthis era where more Japanese women are smoking cigarettes along with women’sadvancement to career world, cigarette can be introduced as a perfect outlet toreliving stress and even out the social gap with that of men. Of course, peoplealready do know the harmful effects of tobacco, but as this habit becomes mundaneas time passes, they will become dull about the issue, as we are subject tobeing relaxed once we are used to it.
This means that there is high chance ofadvertising styles returning to that of 1970s to 90s, to a more stimulating andconvincing content. Advertising models again, would show comfort and freshnessof smoking and show positive fetishes about smoking using sensational wordsthat stimulate people. Now, women are the blue oceans in thecigarette industry, while male customers can be referred to as worn out fossilfuel.
Also, the companies will turn their attention more into youth group inorder to construct more concrete foundations for smoking cigarettes, alluringas if cigarettes are providing outlets from loaded school works andever-competitive college entrance stresses. Therefore, various products will beintroduced in order to suit their taste, and more colorful and different kindsof cigarettes would be introduced. For instance, pink cigarette would largelygain the attention of the ladies in order to suit their feminist wants, andcigarettes would come in different color and form in order to satisfy the tasteof youth. If it were men that were protagonists incigarette advertisements, more women will appear on these them. Now it is therole of women and maternity can become the prime targets of the smokingcommercials, bringing about a whole new trend of smoking advertisements. Forinstance, it could show a housewife having a peaceful moment of smoking at abalcony after sending her children to school and husband to work. Indeed, thisstrategy could be largely efficient in various perspectives. First, lades canhave a right justification for smoking.
As housewives are worn out from houseworks, cigarette can be represented as an outlet from the stress. Looking atthe wife, or a mother finding rest in smoking, both husband and children canbecome more understandable about smoking Second, it can attract both men andchildren to smoking. By showing a wife, or a mother smoking in a house, it islikely that the family members will naturally be exposed to smoking, acceptingit as a norm.
Lastly, homes can be understood as a place with freedom ofsmoking. Once this concept spreads, it is easier for people to accept smokingin public places as well since they become more used to this habit. Likewise, the representation of female andmaternity in smoking could bring about a huge impact in the smoking culture andcommercials thanks to the combined effect of anthropological concepts;providing a platform and a ripple effect of the spread of smoking habit in allparts of our society.
Focus on masculinity will turn into femininity, and the”fetishism of femininity” will become the major trend in the smokingadvertisement industry. Also, various linguistic and anthropological featuresof maternity and femininity will be applied to draw people into tobaccoconsumption, bringing about another social issues to solve. 8. ConclusionAset of visual contents above present various features and implications ofsmoking and culture. First of all, the smoker’s identity depicted in thecommercials show that the perspective of smoking has largely changed overtime.
As people became more aware of health issues, merely emphasizing the beauty ofsmoking does not seem to be influential as it turned to the 21stcentury. The 21st century commercials, instead of directly promotingits product, tries to give impression that the company truly cares about theircustomers, and that smoking cigarette is a normal behavior that deserves to berespected. Also by stressing that the smokers are thoughtful and are carefulnot to pose discomfort to non-smokers, it tries to convey the image thatsmokers and non-smokers can coexist without a trouble. The identity shiftwitnessed here is that while smokers back in 1970s and 90s were depicted ashandsome, artistic, and outgoing, while those in the recent days are picturedas gentle and thoughtful.
All in all, the smoker’s identity has continuouslychanged and adapted to the society throughout the course of history inrelations to the society’s atmosphere and needs. From now on, it is expectedthat the female’s role and maternity will become emphasized and utilized inthese advertisements as they settled as one of the most influential entities ofour society.