Freedom to Advertise or Bad for Business?

I was stunned, as I stared at the shiny page of a well-known women’s magazine, and a cigarette advertisement looked back at me without even the slightest notion of err. The ad looked dated, as if it was shot in the late eighties. A group of women crowded in the frame, laughing and joyous all with lit cigarettes laced between their fragile fingers. Really?

In the marketing industry myself, I can imagine just how much ad revenue impacts a periodical’s fragile bottom line, however is it okay to abandon all brand stature and deviate from what is ethical?

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The publication, less this one blatant misstep, advertises perfume, clothes, handbags, face cream, watches and more of the like. All somewhat superficial, yet not in the realm of a cancerous and addictive habit.

The magazine includes articles on the latest hues and trends for spring (surprise: florals!), the top ten influential women in Washington, even tackling the issue of male birth control and lack of recent advancements. The colorful pages are brimming with content about women, for women, in favor of all things to propel her forward in life.

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With all we know about smoking (causing more than 480,000 deaths annually), are these advertisements even capable of working? But also, is the magazine even slightly concerned about what message they are sending and consequences to the brand? Freedom to advertise or bad for business? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

// Photo Details // Equipment: iPhone 6. Editing: VSCOcam application, ‘C1’ preset.

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