Sex Sells #20: Alive with Pleasure!

10-8-2010 4-37-24 PM

Sexual innuendo in advertising doesn't get any more textbook perfect than the "Alive with Pleasure!" ads that were in magazines everywhere in the 70s and 80s.  Sure, they were awful to look at: a gaudy green with a seemingly amateurish photograph; however, they are subconscious imagery is taken to new heights in these advertisements.  I've paged through a lot of old magazines, and I think I can say with good authority that the Newport ads are the ultimate in sexual innuendo marketing.  It simply doesn't get any better than this.  Let's take a look at why.

First of all, you can't bee too obvious with your innuendo - otherwise, it ceases to be innuendo and is just blatant pandering.  A naked couple having sex wouldn't sell many cigarettes; viewers would be shocked, offended, and apply a negative connotation to the product.  But if you lay it between the lines, it passes through the mind without the reader even being aware.  Believe me when I tell you that the marketing execs behind the products of big cigarette companies know exactly what they're doing.

First, you grab the reader's attention.  Brilliant green may be ugly, but you can't blindly pass by this page... it demands your attention, even if it's no more than a couple seconds.

10-8-2010 9-46-02 AM

One thing the human mind associates with sex (this is proven - not a personal theory) is a certain "O face".  You'll notice that the women in nearly every single one of these ads is clearly demonstrating the classic O face (i.e. orgasm face). In the example above, she's between his legs with the O face; and he's holding a perfectly positioned "pole".

10-8-2010 3-33-41 PM

Okay, if this is for heterosexual males, why is she shooting a stream of jiz water into his mouth?  Remember, these aren't meant to be analyzed (like we're doing).  They're meant to to be looked at for a split second.  The association that's implanted in your mind is "sex sex sex sex sex"; and sex = pleasure = Newport. 

It's brilliant!  Now, I know there's skeptics out there that think this sort of psychology is a bunch of rubbish.  Let me just say that those people are naive.  No one understood this better than the propaganda ministers of the The Third Reich..... except maybe Madison Avenue.

10-8-2010 3-22-47 PM

If you can't spot the subliminal sexual imagery here, you need to look again.  This woman is on her back and splayed in front of the men.  Your cerebral cortex sees an innocent frolic in the snow.... but your mid brain is all over this.  This is porn for your limbic system.

10-8-2010 9-52-25 AM

Damn! The woman on the left is certainly "alive with pleasure"! This is the O face is full effect.  Take a close look at what she's doing - she's obviously giving his appendage a hand job.

10-8-2010 9-48-50 AM

It's been demonstrated that sex is the second strongest behind all psychological appeals.  It only makes sense that advertisers would capitalize on this to move product.  This woman isn't holding on to a bed's headboard in this photo - but she may as well be.  Classic O face.  Well done, Newport. Well done.

Here's a couple more O faces for you mid brain to enjoy. 

10-8-2010 9-34-42 AM

10-8-2010 9-38-48 AM

Here's another favorite, shown below...it brings to mind a very important point: women smoke too, and these ads most definitely have BOTH genders in mind with these cleverly orchestrated sexual suggestions.

10-8-2010 9-12-05 AM

It's been shown that most women will not respond to a blatant sex filled advertisement.  It needs to be subtle and threatening to work for the majority of females. This scene is romantic, right? It's playful - non threatening. Yet at the same time, beneath the surface, she's being pounded by enormous penises.

10-8-2010 9-08-17 AM

Okay, they're laying down, and she's literally squirming with Ecstasy.  The O face is once again in full effect, but this time she's being sprayed by jism water from a sprinkler.  Hmmm... what could that mean?

Newport Cigarettes Advertisement

Oh, my God!!.... I can't even comment on this one. 

Newport Cigarettes Advertisement

Why that's the tiniest snowman I've ever seen.  It's about the size of a.... of a.... ahhhhh, Newport, you sly devils!

Newport Cigarettes Advertisement

Perfect O face.  In fact, I think this man is actually pleasuring this woman.  No, I'm certain of it.  He is definitely pleasuring her.

Newport Cigarettes Advertisement

Interesting in that the legs could be a man or a woman's.  What's not up for debate is she is positioned down low and has a very firm hold. 

Newport Cigarettes Advertisement

He's on her and he's riding away. Giddyup!  This time he's got the O face, and she's just along for the ride.  Although, here absent right arm would suggest maybe she's not so passive after all.

Newport Cigarettes Advertisement

Two nice round holes could mean something.  But notice they made damn sure a pair of red lips were drawn on the paper bag, lest there be any misunderstanding of the gender beneath the mask.

Get ready. Cover your eyes, kids....

Newport Cigarettes Advertisement

Well, it's been fun. Was it good for you?


  1. Well, I certainly feel like smoking now! And I never have smoked a single cigarette before! Maybe I'll just go get the wife and go with the other suggestion.


  2. I used to teach college students how to interpret media messages (like advertisements).

    Do you know how many of them would NEVER, ever think these ads had ANY sexual content? And most of them wanted a job in advertising....

    Excellent visual essay!

    1. Maybe they were actually thinking it, but they didn't want to say so because they didn't want everyone in the classroom to think they were pervs.

  3. hehe, too funny, thanks for the great post!

  4. One thing you notice is that even the packs of Newport cigarrettes themselves appear to be... er, "alive with pleasure," if you get my drift.

    After these ads, you may need to, er, have a smoke.

  5. SPY had an article about these same ads and the innuendo in them. I picture the MAD MEN characters talking about them and how they're "not sexual enough".

  6. hahahaha I remember them well, but never remembered them that way!

  7. There's something terribly wrong with these ads; there are no black people in them. When was the last time you saw a white person smoking Newports? Not only is this exclusionary to the black community, it's just downright false advertising.

    Power to the people, damn it!

  8. I remember these ads! Although I must admit, I had never thought of them as sexual, goofy yes, but sexual no!...but then again I was a kid so what did I know?

  9. Your analysis is as brilliant as their campaign, bravo

  10. If it's blatant innuendo you're after, see if you can find an old UK TV advert for the Cadbury's Flake chocolate bar.

  11. AnonymousJuly 04, 2011

    Wow, somebody has a dirty mind.

    The biggest knock I could see against any of these was not showing the real effects of smoking: old people dying of cancer.

    Still ...

  12. In the picture with the magnifying glass, that looks a lot like John Barrowman from Torchwood/Doctor Who.

  13. You write GREAT copy! Sure you're not an adman?