Tobacco advertising is perhaps one of the most blatant examples of deliberate exploitation of people by corrupt marketers and corporations for profit. They knew for years that tobacco was killing people and yet chose to obscure the truth and continue selling - even to pregnant women! Ethical Marketing is a must for anyone seeking to build sustainable businesses into the future!
In today's world, advertising tobacco is totally banned and the cost of tobacco products are sky high. While many would argue that this violates the free will of the market and people in general, it is also valid to highlight that a huge number of people are harmed through being 'hooked' by advertising hooks in avoidable ways through such advertising.
Smoking tobacco gives a high initially but then soon tends to leave people seeking to replace emotional discomfort with smoking more. Whether the emotional discomfort stems from challenges in life or from the damage done from smoking itself, the outcome is the same - people tend to unconsciously seek to deceive themselves into thinking they 'feel better' after smoking and so rely on smoking instead of more healthy processes.
In a more balanced world, governments would be promoting emotional processing and therapy to ensure that people are grounded and health - thus ensuring they have no attraction to smoking in the first place and meaning there is no need for market interference and censorship. However, addressing the emotional reality of life is a huge taboo for many people, who are heavily conditioned to hide their real feelings. This is a huge part of why we are left with overarching control from centralised governmental systems instead of experiencing consistently empowered and wise decision making that leads to health among the population.
Setting aside the politics and psychology for a moment, a quick look at some adverts from yesteryear shows us why marketers and business owners need to think carefully about the messages and tactics they are using to connect with their audiences.
Knowing what we know now about the damage done to children in the womb when mothers smoke tobacco, this advert seems absurd and disturbing. Not only are the advertisers promoting toxic poison to expectant mothers, but they are specifically highlighting the idea that craving something is a positive signal!
While it may be easy to argue that 'they didn't know any better', the reality of addiction has been the same throughout history - there have always been people who understood it's mechanisms and many more who are unconscious of it. There would have been no avoiding, just through simple observation, that smokers age more quickly and are lower in health than non smokers. There would have been no possible evidence that children were stronger as a result of parents smoking!
Yet, here we are - looking at an advert that specifically tries to hook vulnerable people into addiction for profit. Arguably, anyone who promotes true decentralisation and free markets must concede that without excellent education to support absolute freedom, there will be a lot of casualties along the way.
In this Lucky Strike advert, the advertisers have sought to associate their product with the idea that excellent singers/performers choose their products because they are 'toasted'. While toasting tobacco may reduce some irritants, it is hardly the case that a lung full of smoke will enhance your singing voice, unless you intend to sing the blues or Nirvana covers.
The truly unethical aspect here is that the marketers are attempting to unconsciously associate female beauty, the acceptance of men and artistic greatness with their product - knowing that these are all often desired by the female market they are trying to target. Rather than empowering women to feel great through self acceptance or demonstrating confidence boosting exercises, these people have accepted money in exchange for trying to trick women to pay for poisons that will do them harm!
Ethical Marketing Lessons For Today
Modern businesses beware, the world is ever more skeptical and aware of unethical practices and you are well advised to carefully assess your marketing strategy to ensure it is as ethical as possible. In the long run, you can build sustainable market gains and build real market support through aligning your choices towards ethics rather than exploitation!
Check out our article on 5 Ethical Marketing Principles for more inspiration or get in touch with us at Crucial Web to discuss your needs with our team. We're always ready to coach and support you as you transform your project into the best ethical version of itself, achieving the growth you deserve in the process!
Until next time, stay awesome,
Crucial Web Team