Minorities And Smoking Of Mice and Menthol The Targeting of African Americans by the Tobacco Industry
1989 People Extra Virginia Slims Ad

“You’ve come a long way, baby.”

Virginia Slims advertisement
People Extra
Summer 1989

1988 01 18 Jet Virginia Slims Ad

“You’ve come a long way, baby.”

Virginia Slims advertisement
Jet, back cover
January 18, 1988

1994 08 Ebony Kool Ad

“Kool All Over.”

Ebony, back cover
August 1994

2000 03 27 Jet Virginia Slims Ad Find Your Voice

“Never let the goody two shoes get you down.”

Virginia Slims advertisement
Jet, inside front cover
March 27, 2000

2000 Jet Virginia Slims Ad

“Kila mtu ana uzuri wake” 
(Everyone has her own beauty)

Virginia Slims advertisement
Jet, pages 34-35
January 17, 2000

2000 04 Latina Virginia Slims Ad Spanish

“Baila en una playa desierta hasta el amanecer…” 
(Dance on a deserted beach until dawn)

Virginia Slims advertisement
Latina, pages 28-29
April 2000

Targeting Minority Women

A Marginalized Market

In the 1980s, feminist lecturer Jean Kilbourne noted the striking difference between Philip Morris’ Virginia Slims cigarette advertisements in publications directed to a predominantly African-American female readership and those that were aimed at white women. One long-running Virginia Slims campaign in the 1970s in magazines such as Cosmopolitan and Vogue featured sepia-toned vignettes that contrasted subjugated, male-dominated housewives of the 19th century with the liberated superwoman of the 20th century – who smoked Virginia Slims. The fact that black women were enslaved during the 19th century doubtless led Philip Morris to take a different approach to their descendants: advertisements for Virginia Slims in Ebony and Essence magazines stuck strictly to African-American models holding cigarettes.

More On: Targeting Minority Women – A Marginalized Market

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