The Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids’ Attack on the Tobacco Industry

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Southern Communication Journal

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This essay analyzes a campaign of 40 print advertisements designed to attack the tobacco industry for trying to addict children to this deadly habit and to influence the U.S. Congress via campaign contributions. These advertisements elaborated the attack with multiple strategies for enhancing the offensiveness of the tobacco industry's alleged acts and increasing its responsibility for these actions. These messages attend to form and substance and effectively integrate visual and verbal elements, as well as arguments and evidence. Appeals are embedded in these messages for both casual readers (headlines and visual elements) and careful readers (textual claims and evidence). Central ideas are repeated, forming motifs that ran throughout the campaign and reinforced important appeals made during the campaign. Several features of the discourse (order, repetition, details, imperative form, and present tense) enact Perelman and Olbrechts‐Tyteca's (1969) concept of presence and thereby augment the persuasiveness of these strategies. The campaign is generally well conceived, producing an effective rhetorical attack on an unpopular but politically entrenched opponent.


The version of record can be found through Taylor and Francis.