The advertisement in Figure 6.4 illustrates two categories of advertising that merit special scrutiny: advertisements featuring children and advertisements encouraging misuse of a product. Of course not, but clearly that was not the intent of the advertiser.
Source: Kim Bashin chci asijske seznamovacГ recenze, “20 Creepy Ads Featuring Children,” Business Insider, . Figure 6.4 This is a vintage Gillette advertisement from 1905.
The ad is attempting to be humorous by employing an absurd image, a baby shaving itself. The ad is also trying to make the point that the new Gillette safety razor is so safe that even a baby could use it without harm. There also may have been an intention to create an association between the smoothness of a baby’s skin and the closeness of the shave provided by the razor. By today’s standards, however, the advertisement appears reckless. While it is not possible that a baby would be influenced by an advertisement, it is not inconceivable that a small child of five or six years of age might be encouraged by this advertisement to play with a razor: The baby seems to be having such fun, and the small child might have seen his or her father shaving. Regardless of the likelihood that the advertisement could cause harm, today’s advertisers have become increasingly wary of using advertising that features children engaged in dangerous activities.
As stated above, there are products that are sold legally but that are considered to have such a high potential for harm or abuse such that their advertising has been banned or regulated.
Concerned with medical research that revealed the health hazards of smoking, the US and European governments began to regulate tobacco advertising in the 1960s. The print ad in Figure 6.5, from 1962, features an idyllic family scene that suggests that a smoker gets “lots more” from a particular brand. The ad suggests that one acceptable way to enjoy the smoking experience is to smoke in the company of one’s spouse and children. In 1964, however, the US Surgeon General issued a formal report that concluded that smoking caused lung cancer and chronic bronchitis. This led to the government instituting a series of regulations aimed at the tobacco industry. The new laws required health warning labels on all cigarette packages and required that all cigarette companies file annual reports to the FTC. One goal of these regulations was to oblige the large tobacco companies to disclose their advertising expenditures and strategies, so that the government would be able to assess the link between tobacco advertising and smoking-related health risks.
Throughout the late 1960s, the US government accumulated and analyzed data on the marketing and advertising practices of the large cigarette companies and finally concluded that tobacco advertising encouraged smoking. As a result, the Public Health Cigarette Smoking Act was passed and signed into law in 1970. This act banned all cigarette advertising on television and radio advertising in the United States. At the time the prohibition went into effect, tobacco companies were spending eighty percent of their advertising budgets on television advertising, so the impact of the law was significant.
Let us consider just two such product areas: cigarettes and alcoholic beverages
Subsequently, the United States enacted further restrictions on cigarette advertising. In 1999, billboard advertising of tobacco products was banned. In 2010, tobacco companies were prohibited from sponsoring athletic, musical, or artistic events, and from featuring their logos on apparel. However, the government has stopped short of banning print advertising. These governmental efforts have been matched by a certain level of self-regulation on the part of tobacco companies. For example, after a public outcry over its use of a cartoonish camel to sell cigarettes (it was feared that such advertising would be appealing to children and teenagers), Camel Cigarettes voluntarily stopped advertising in magazines in 2007. However, in 2013 Camel resumed its practice of advertising in magazines.