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In Marketing

Marketers and editors look to cigars to make statements.
Gordon Mott
From the Print Edition:
bundle of cigars, Winter 92/93

(continued from page 1)

Art Cooper, the Editor-in-Chief of GQ, says he's been using cigars for years as props in shoots, partly as a way to keep models' hands busy, but also as a way to add a little whimsy to a shoot, just as it did on the Esquire cover. But he expresses a slightly ironic note about his best-selling cover of 1992, the January shot of a relaxed President John F. Kennedy holding a cigar. "Who knows, maybe the wish for a cigar made 430,000 [newsstand sales] guys go out and buy the magazine."

Roger Kimball, a social commentator and Managing Editor of The New Criterion, a conservative arts and culture journal, traces the cigar-as-prop phenomenon to more straightforward desires. "It's about freedom and pleasure. All those things that we are supposed to look down upon these days," he says. Kimball also argues that cigar smoking isn't about a backlash against feminism, but rather an in-the-face assault on political correctness. "There's this idea around that if it's pleasurable, it must be bad. But there is a reaction against that kind of thinking. Political correctness is a diminishing force."

Whatever the reasons, cigars are staging a comeback in the real world. The bottom line is simple: Smoking a cigar says something positive about a person--man or woman. For an advertiser or an editor or a writer, someone holding a cigar is immediately identified as someone who is determined to stand up for his or her rights. And the message is unequivocal: It's all about the privilege of partaking in pleasurable activities. Unless someone is totally immune to the flood of warnings and nasty diatribes from the naysayers out there, you must adopt an aggressive willingness to enjoy the Good Life, and it's even more important if you want to indulge the pleasures of a fine smoke. The media kings like that self-assured profile and the image it portrays.

Light up. The media gurus are telling you it's okay. This is the Decade of the Cigar.

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