Archive for May 14th, 2011

Growing up, cigarette ads were commonplace in every form of advertising.   You couldn’t flip on the TV without seeing an ad for the smoothest, coolest smokes going at the time.  Camels were the cigarette of choice in our house, long before the coming of Joe Camel.  One uncle of mine smoked Lucky Strikes, another Newports although I might be confusing this one with a Parliament.  An aunt smoked Raleighs with their classy packages with an image of Sir Walter Raleigh and the coupons which she saved for years and years.

 I never knew why any of them made their specific choices, what might have spurred them to say that they felt that their Camel was superior to a Winston or a Kool.  It had to be the image they felt each brand projected rather than some difference in taste or quality.  So it’s always interesting to see early advertising to see how this perceived image came about.  The Marlboro Man is the classic example.  It was easy to see how one might identify with that image of the rugged individualist.  But the Camel? Or Sir Walter Raleigh?  What made them see themselves in that choice?

Maybe it was just a choice made on scientific data, as this ad from the earliest days of television points out.  To our slightly more wary eyes today this ad seems ridiculous but in the 50’s these outrageous claims made by the cigarette companies filled the airwaves.  In a curious way, I miss this blatant huckstering…

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