The Image cannot lie | Optical (d)illusions.
Advertising companies frequently adopt the use of subliminal messages, designed to manipulate their audiences. The sale of cigarettes between the 1960’s and 1990’s was significantly influenced by a continual ability to ‘justify’ their consumption. Incorporating positive outcomes has seen underlying issues such as lung and heart disease eventuate into a familiar aspect of modern culture.
Semiotics explores the relationship between symbols and their interpretation. This is expressed through denotation and connotation; the signifiers and the signified.
“denotation is what is photographed, connotation is how it is photographed.’’ – John Fiske
The masterminds behind these seductive campaigns would often target people on the basis that smoking would somehow enhance image.
“Smoking was the common tie between lust and love.” – David Chapman
The image cleverly makes use of a foreground and background. In the foreground the audience is subject to the salient image; the packet of cigarettes. These are held by presumably the hand of a male, due to the hardened nature of the hand, as well as the arm hair – which adds an aura of masculinity. Complementing this feature is the woman in the background, who is drawn to the fact that the man is smoking. The eye contact made between the man and the woman is evident – and acts as a key focus of the advertisement.
This unmistakable eye contact establishes a somewhat intimate relationship between the male and the female. The underlying messaged conveyed is that smoking attracts female attention, therefore enhancing the male image. The seemingly simple concept of smoking is more or less a ‘selling’ point to males who are targeted to believe that women identify smoking to be a contributing factor to a man’s sex appeal. Quite simply, the advertisement connotes the relationship between cigarettes and sex.
Such innuendo could only lead one to believe that the classical way to a girls heart is to stand by a jukebox inhaling a pack of Kool cigarettes. Although in hindsight the modern ‘lady’ could denote that not only do cigarettes cause cancer, but men who smoke them, leave a rather awful taste in your mouth.
Aside from the ‘subtle’ portrayal of intimacy within the advertisement, the Kool cigarette company manage to include a typical scene from presumably a bar or nightclub, plastering the brand name through the reflection of a window. Additionally, the clearly labelled packaging reinforces the brand name of the cigarette, and allows the audience to distinguish the relationship between the cigarettes, the woman and the setting.
I’d love to admit that there are several different interpretations of this image, however when blokes want a smoke – they’ll have a smoke. The very simplicity of the advertisement, as well as the message it sends, ensures that blokes will be more than satisfied after a night out.
With their smoke that is?