5 insane trends from vintage cigarette ads

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Believe it or not, the first group to publicly make the connection between cigarettes and lung cancer wasn’t the American Anti Cool Society or the Tracheostomy Voice Box Choir of Harlem, it was the Nazis. During his Fuhrership, Hitler was the most prominent anti smoker in the world. It took the United States over 30 years to acknowledge what the Nazis knew in 1928 smoking kills. In the meantime, American cigarette brands figured out another neat fact about nicotine it’s an appetite suppressant. To illustrate the horrifying possibility of a life without cigarettes, Lucky Strike shadowed their models with monstrous gray blobs of their future selves.

Lucky Strike via clotho98
Ha ha! Joke’s on them, because we all ended up obese anyway!

Things got really weird when Lucky Strike forced viewers to imagine their future fat butts on a horse. Not only is the horse bogged down with the weight of a thousand Depression era snacks (aka apples), but it’s losing a race to the «prettier» skinny version of the same person. Look at the first half of the skinny model’s horse leap like it’s made of air! Notice how its backside is probably not going to clear the fence, which is also a good metaphor for the lung health of a long term smoker.

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Of course, Lucky’s «Don’t Be Fat» campaign ran in the 1930s, when women were barely out of the house and only months beyond their liberation from knee length hair. So you can understand the mindset behind displaying looming jelly shadows as examples of what not to be. Advertisers didn’t know any better. But you’d also think their granddaughters would move on to better things 30 years later. You’d be wrong.

Vividiom, Etsy

Way to capture the zeitgeist, Silva Thins. Notice how the ad was still targeting the male smoker by comparing cigarettes to women. Thin and rich women. Because who wants to smoke a poor fatty?

Ladies, we’re just getting started on the bad things coming your way, cigarette marketing wise.

#4. Pall Mall Sexual Harassment in a Stick

Along with shortening their skirts, cutting their hair, and flapping all over the place, 20th century women took up smoking to assert what would later be called their «Beyonce ness,» or empowerment. In fact, women around the world are following the same pattern today When women get out of the house and into the workplace, they start smoking, for some reason. Put a pin on that fact, because it’s probably going to come back to haunt us when billions of Chinese people are too sick to make our stuff.

But back to Western cigarette ads. So imagine a man working in an office in the 1950s. Someone new starts work, and she’s got inverted flesh bowls where her striped tie should be. For someone who was used to seeing women only in the kitchen, the bedroom, and Renaissance paintings, it must have been a confusing time. Keep that in mind when you see the Pall Mall ads below.

Sociological Images

If the text is too small for you, it says

«Don’t let this girl’s costume fool you … She’s a girl a real, live girl. It’s just that she has to prove something to herself and to her family … But she really doesn’t want to compete with men. In her heart she wants to attract men and eventually, marry one … If the girl is watchable, she should be watched … The same thing is true of a cigarette. If it’s smokeable, it should be smoked and Pall Mall is the most smokeable of all!»

If you could sum up six seasons of Mad Men in an image, this would be it. The thread between cigarettes and institutionalized misogyny is so spurious, you almost forget that this is an ad at all. It’s more like a 2 year old’s attempt at explaining why he pooped his pants but also likes spaghetti. The connection between the two things exists only in his own mind.

Sociological Images

«The Bookstacker serves the cause of classical literature in various ways. Perhaps the least of these is in keeping the rows of books properly aligned and the jackets free of dust. Her most important contribution is in improving the environment for study, enhancing the halls of learning with her own classical forms.»

My favorite part of the ads is the practiced look of indifference on the women’s faces. That’s the truest part of the campaign women who are regularly harassed play deaf and ignorant to keep their tormentors from getting a reaction. So you can tell the illustrator knew what he was doing when he drew these ridiculously proportioned women up he knew that look almost too well. The second best part of the ads is the lack of a single cigarette in the hands of ANYONE.

#3. Yes, I Smoke! F You!

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In 1965, the surgeon general declared that cigarette companies could no longer tout the fake health benefits of their product. Up to that point, brands could say anything that more doctors smoked their cigarettes, or that theirs were better for your throat, or that they gave you the hardest Lindy Hop skills. Tobacco ads were a hot stogie of lies, and the public smoked them up for decades.

For example

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That’s an oddly specific number of physicians! It turns out 20,679 doctors responded to a three year survey sponsored by Lucky Strike’s advertising company a survey that sent free cartons of Lucky Strikes to doctors while asking them if their cigarettes were less irritating than other brands. Most doctors said «Yes» and «Thank you for the free smokes.»

Fast forward to the mid ’60s, and promises of physical wellness through smoking were off the table. Like a frustrated and proud puma backed into a coffin shaped corner, smokers got defensive. Winston cigarettes decided to capture the moment with a series of ads that were downright pissy.

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The faces in the ads ranged from «Stay away from me, I’m mad as hell» to «Stay away from me, I’m about to make love to this box of cigarettes and you don’t want to be here to see it.» The only unifying theme was that the models had angry expressions and baffling quotes. Have you ever picked a brand of anything because it’s nice and boxy? The guy below has.

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For all we know, this guy was also smoking crayons because the box fit so nicely in his jean jacket, but Winston was smart enough to keep that part on the DL. One ad simply featured a mildly cross eyed woman who spewed out truncated half finished thoughts about her smoking history.

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Deleted quotes included «I like bandannas» and «What’s that?» and «Do you need a sweater? Because I’m wearing two.» Eventually Winston just cut out the extra random thoughts and ran ads featuring the weirdest weirdo they could find.

Vintage Ad Browser

Buy winston cigarettes — $16.99 per carton. order yours today!

Winston brand is one of the most popular cigarette brands in the history of tobacco industry. It is one of 10 top selling cigarette brands across the world, and sixth best selling in the U.S. And their huge popularity is on the rise.

Winston was introduced to the U.S. cigarette market in 1954, becoming the first national cigarette brand to be equipped with filters. RJ Reynolds, the manufacturer of these cigarettes, named them after the City of Winston Salem where the company’s first tobacco plant was located.

Winston cigarettes gained enormous popularity among adult smokers shortly after the launch. In 1956 Winston became the leading cigarette brand in the USA, and in decade the brand was named the best selling tobacco product, a place that Winston was holding for almost seven years, before yielding that position to another iconic tobacco product, Marlboro.

The main feature that encouraged the huge popularity of Winston brand is the secret tobacco formula comprised from the finest tobacco imported from Brazil and Nicaragua and blended with care to give Winston cigarettes its mild and inimitable taste. In addition, the premium quality, peculiar to all tobacco products manufactured by RJ Reynolds (in the USA) and Japan Tobacco International (outside of the USA), undoubtedly makes Winston cigarettes worthy to be tried.

Winston brand provides the slower burning time turning smoking into thrilling sensation of delight. It doesn’t matter which style of Winston you prefer, you will always have a superb quality cigarette with a smooth and mild taste, charming flavor and at moderate price.

Winston offers a wide assortment of varieties, ranging by strength, length and flavor. currently offers Winston in seven different styles, so that every adult cigarette lover might select the one that matches all his requirements.

If you prefer classic smokes, you can try Winston Classic, Winston Blue or Winston Silver, or you can opt for low tar Winston White.

If you are willing to try a more delicate and exclusive smoke, better try Winston Super Slims Silver and Winston Super Slims Blue.


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