Smoking and the Rhetorical Analysis of a TUPP Ad

The overall composition of an anti-smoking advertisement is designed to make addicted smokers feel ashamed of themselves. Most especially in this advertisement from the organization based in California Tobacco Use Prevention Program (TUPP). This analysis focuses on the aspects of these advertisement’s components that might persuade the target audience, which in this case would be young women in their seemingly early twenties and are adjusting into the party scene. The advertising manipulates the audience to think a certain way about themselves and, on top of that, it offers assistance with addicted smokers. Exploring the different ways this ad tries to convince people to quit smoking and prevent tobacco use overall, there are several things taken into consideration. Such as, the logic, the feelings the audience might experience, the credibility of the organization putting this ad together, and the things that fall out of place and are not tying everything together in this piece of media.

TUPP is a government organization in Orange County, California with the objective of reducing the number of addicted smokers. TUPP made the advertisement in an attempt to get smokers, specifically young women, to quit smoking. The advertisement shows a young woman holding a cigarette with the text “A cheaper way of looking smoking hot…quit!” The advertisement convinces the viewer to quit smoking by appealing to the person’s desire to save money. It also appeals to a person’s own vanity by suggesting, through the face of the young woman, that if they smoke they will not look as beautiful as they did prior to making smoking a habit. The ad uses the following visuals: seemingly aged skin, crooked teeth, and yellow nails to show some of the effects smoking could have on someone. It uses fear tactics to those who don’t smoke by showing them the effects it has, as well as shaming those who do by subtly telling them that they are less attractive to those who don’t smoke. The advertisement primarily uses pathos to get its message across. It also uses a fair amount of logos to get readers to see the reasoning as to why someone should quit smoking. The ad also uses ethos to apply to one’s value of beauty and uses its influence as a government-funded organization to further convince anyone who happens upon this advertisement that smoking has a negative effect on them. Background information The origin of the ad was published by TUPP, a program that is part of an agency called the Orange County Public Health Care Agency where they have been around for more than three years. The program’s goal is to reduce the use of tobacco and nicotine and to avert secondhand smoke in the state of California (OCTEC).

The program offers a free hotline, where the caller will be referred to a counselor who will let them know when and where the next seminar or class will be held or the caller may simply call to schedule an appointment with a counselor. This program assists smokers to quit their addiction and helps them get back up on their feet to a better lifestyle. The services provided are free to the public; everyone is invited to attend. The program states that they provide attendants with free nicotine patches, a quit plan, tips on stress management and free individual support. TUPP does not only focus on those with a working wage; they offer their services to the homeless as well. This way, the homeless population will get the help they need in order to be back on their feet. Ethos The ad that is spoken of is approved by the County of Orange in California. This proves that the advertisement was paid for and was published by the County of Orange, a firm of authority. What stands out about Orange County is the location. Orange County has six coastal cities, totaling around forty miles of coastline. What this signifies is that people who live in Orange County areas are accustomed to going to the beach as a casual activity. Going to the beach or being blonde and beautiful is often seen as a stereotype for Californians.

Being attractive for the people in this County does come at a cost: plastic surgery. Plastic surgery is seen as a norm in this state, especially near the beach residencies. Because the people of these areas are rich, they can afford to get plastic surgeries out of thin air. Orange County is the home to many Fortune 500 companies, meaning that business and international trade are very popular. Due to the number of riches citizens hold, they believe they are able to take risks when it comes to their health because they can afford it, but are always concerned about how they are when it comes to their physical appearance and beauty. The wealthy are only the tip of the iceberg. There are those that do not have the monetary resources to afford a stable home but are addicted to a certain degree, where they will only think about when their next cigarette will be. When spoken of those that do not have enough money, it is the youth that is highlighted. Pathos        

Young women who are usually in their early 20s are pressured to feel as if they need to be beautiful, especially if they live in California where the beauty standard is drastically different from other states; As stated, in California, having plastic surgery done is the norm. Women have a sense of needing to be beautiful, so with this ad, they are being shamed for not being “pretty” because they are smokers. Smoking is more often than not seen as an unattractive quality. The advertisement shows the woman looking much older on the side where the cigarette is placed on her lip. Overall, she is not very beautiful due to things in her appearance like eyebags, crooked yellow teeth, and seemingly burnt ashy skin and lips. The ad is essentially giving off the idea that smoking does not make someone an attractive person and they should stop before their lungs fail. Logos       

The advertisement also uses logos as a method of convincing the viewer. The advertisement does this by showing several visuals to the viewer of the ad. This ad shows various ways smoking could have a detrimental impact on a person’s body. It does all this to convince any young women who may happen upon the advertisement to either quit smoking or to refrain from smoking. The advertisement shows a young woman holding a cigarette in her right hand. The side of her face that is nearest to the cigarette appears to be aged and wrinkled. A viewer of the ad can come to the logical conclusion that if they smoke they will begin to appear older than what they really are. Another thing that the advertisement shows are the woman’s teeth. On one half her teeth are straight and white, while the other half is stained and crooked. The ad uses this as further proof of what smoking can do to one’s body and as another reason as to why someone should stop smoking. The advertisement persuades the viewer by appealing to their desire to look beautiful. It also persuades the young women who see the ad to quit smoking by shaming them. A less noticeable effect that the ad shows are the woman’s fingernails. On her right hand, the two fingers holding the cigarette have yellow fingernails. This subconsciously tells the person seeing this ad that if they smoke they will get yellow fingernails. Although this advertisement is primarily targeted towards young women, this ad can still apply to anyone who cares deeply about their appearance. A viewer of the advertisement can use logic to see that if they smoke, it will start to show in their appearance.

What is odd about the slogan on the ad that reads, “A Cheaper Way to Look Smoking Hot…Quit!” is that it implies that cigarettes are expensive. Making that statement an appeal to probability fallacy, and while the statement may be truthful in a way, because of the added sin tax that is proposed and regulated by the federal government, it should be taken into account that while smoking is in fact an expensive habit, so is any other feminine hobby. For example, makeup, an art used by an overwhelmingly female population, is nothing short of being on the cheap side. Makeup can quickly become expensive habit and hobby, especially if she is a trendy follower that is up to date with all the latest collections and releases. Language The advertisement uses language to specifically target the person viewing it in a way that would make them feel ashamed of themselves, particularly younger women, who are expected to care deeply about their outward appearance and how they are viewed by society.

When the ad itself says “A Cheaper Way to Look Smoking Hot… Quit!” it opens up the discussion that women should not destroy their bodies because of their personal choice of smoking. The words “Ready to be tobacco free?” give the targeted audience a sense of encouragement. The tone of the words are used to give the viewer hope in halting their habit and “becoming hotter” after they stop smoking. Conclusion In essence, this ad demonstrates that anyone associated with TUPP would want to help a smoking addict with the assistance and resources they are able to provide. Smoking is not that easy to quit; it takes time in order to fully stop. With the information given by this specific organization in Orange County, those native to the area will know that there is assistance for smokers wishing to quit their addiction. It’s important to analyze ads because the information that is offered by any type of advertisement in helpful to determine what the consumer or person would want to do with that information. From there it would be completely up to the individual whether or not to take up on the offer, along with how the ad influenced their decision.

Did you like this example?