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December 19, 2012

Oh Blimey - These were the cigarette advertisements!

The number one culprit for the most deaths caused in the world? No it is not war, terrorism or AIDS. It is deaths caused by consuming tobacco and tobacco related products. Tobacco is available everywhere and is still not seen as a major addiction. Except in the western world cigarette smoking is still  glamorous and smokers are idolized. Thus is not surprising that for many years advertising for cigarettes also followed the same trend. Sample some of the advertisements of the 1930s and 1940s to find out how cigarettes were promoted.

Santa Claus, an obscure figure from mythology and history has been popularized by Coca-Cola as the fun loving grand father figure everyone loves. Santa also promoted cigarettes. The brand - Camel and the punch line ‘two ways to say Merry Christmas – Pleasant smoking’

Phillip Morris claims scientific evidence to say that its cigarettes are milder on the throat than other cigarettes. The model looks like a teenage boy scout! 

Chesterfields teaches the smoker ABC – Always Buy Chesterfields. It rams it point with the copy ‘Always milder, better tasting and cooler smoking’. No surgeon's warning yet! Also claims a report of a market research firm – ‘no unpleasant after taste’.

This one is the masterpiece. It is a testimonial by the physicians. 20,679 of them saying ‘Luckies are less irritating’

Marlboro goes one step more. The advertisement depicts a toddler admiringly telling his father ‘Gee Dad you always get the best of everything – even Marlboro’. No talk of passive smoking and even of the bad influence of a dad smoking in front of his toddler.

The doctor ordered for LM filters. May be even prescribed - a pack of twenties per day! A twenty a day keeps the doctors away - permanently. If you are dead then there is no need for a doctor! 

Phil Silvers acting as sergeant Bilko endorses camel. So now an endorser from the armed forces, so what if it is not a real but a reel sergeant. 

Tipalet takes the cake. The advertisement says blow it (the smoke) in her face and she’ll follow you anywhere. The ultimate male dream – dominate her and smoke her into submission a la 40s and 50s style.

This one has Patrice Munsel a concert and opera singer proudly saying ‘My career depends on my voice. I smoke cool, mild Camel. The cigarette that agrees with my throat’. The same advertisement says more doctors smoke Camels than any other cigarettes.  

Seven letter for flavor. It is Winston. The advertisement depicts an idyllic scene of a husband and wife bonding over, what else the seven letter word for flavor – Winston.

The advertisement claim that doctors are very busy treating people and that they get a rare moment of pleasure of smoking a cigarette before they get back to the drudgery of treating people. The advertisement claims more doctors smoke Camels than any other brand of cigarettes.

Those were the days when the law was not very stringent and the horrors of both active and passive smoking were not known as clearly as we know them today. All in all a very nice study of what the initial phase of cigarette advertising was like in the throw back days years of 40s and the 50s. 

1 comment:

  1. Thank god the cigarette advertising has been banned. Very soon govt is planning to come up with a notification to even ban the surrogate advertising which will put a stop to 'chivas music', 'blenders pride music series' etc..