Marlboro Ad – Culture Jamming

Original Advertisement:


This is one of the advertisements from the “Don’t Be A Maybe” campaign for Marlboro cigarettes launched by Phillip Morris. In my opinion, there are a few problems with this advertisement. First, I think that this particular advertisement is very dangerous and misleading as it targets adolescents and new, young smokers. Right off the bat, we can see how the image of two young adults kissing is used by Phillip Morris to attract and lure a younger demographic of potential smokers by using the theme of ‘falling in love’. In addition to that, this particular image also promotes ‘bad behavior’ where the guy’s hand is sliding up and under the girl’s shirt. As we know, our identity is usually developed during our adolescence or teenage years. I think that Marlboro tries to exploit this by suggesting that smoking Marlboro cigarettes can help teens “fall in love” and find their identity in the midst of uncertainty as they journey towards finding themselves. Furthermore, notice that on the bottom right corner it is written: “BE > MARLBORO”. This is a subtle yet implying message that subconsciously commands the viewers of this ad to smoke Marlboro cigarettes. Last but not least, the most important aspect that this advertisement fails to point out is the detrimental effects caused by smoking. It can cause lung cancer, heart disease, stroke, asthma, and problems associated with babies when smoking during pregnancy. It is also connected to the cause of over 10 other types of cancer including throat and tongue cancer.

Jammed Advertisement:


I decided to implement some changes to the original advertisement from Phillip Morris’ “Don’t Be A Maybe” campaign for their Marlboro cigarettes. As you can see from the revised ad above, I added a few other components to better advise viewers from the misleading cues in the original ad. First, I blurred the guy’s hand that was sneaking into and under the girl’s shirt so as to disrupt the idea from the original ad that it is acceptable for men to touch women’s bodies without their consent. Next, I erased the “BE > MARLBORO” part of the ad to eliminate the subtle and implied command that can subconsciously encourage teens viewing this picture to smoke cigarettes. To top it off, I also added the most crucial part Marlboro failed to put in the advertisement: warnings. As seen above, my revised ad now has the warnings that can be found on cigarette packs on the harmful effects that smoking can bring such as lung cancer, heart disease, and stroke. I also added the phrase “Smoking kills” and a picture of the blackened lungs of a smoker, both of which are scientifically proven facts that results from smoking.