This is the second part of a series looking at tobacco advertising in the student newspaper, The Richmond Collegian, published at the University of Richmond.
The three major brands: Lucky Strike, Chesterfield, and Camel continued their all out weekly propaganda campaigns to win the minds and dollars of young people. Looking at these advertisements, one almost forgets that they appear during the early years of the Great Depression. With cigarettes costing only 14 to 20 cents per pack, they represented an affordable luxury. While the ads depict attractive men and women who enjoy a mild, flavorful cigarette there is almost no reference to deteriorating economic conditions. Here is a rare advertisement that does make a reference to the decline in stock prices.
Lucky Strike Means Adventure
The advertising campaign for Winter 1932 used the slogan “Nature in the raw is seldom Mild” and featured historic battles, lions, tigers, and snakes. Mildness is what all the manufacturers promised, but never at the expense of flavor. Several of the ads feature a quote from Ralph Waldo Emerson about the world beating a path to your door when you do something well.
Chesterfield is Calling All Women
Although Lucky Strike was first major tobacco company to appeal to female smokers, it did not take long for other companies to follow their example by including images of “independent” and attractive women in their advertising. Here are several samples from the folks at Chesterfield.
Camel says “It’s fun to be tricked, but more fun to know.”
In February 1933, Camel Cigarettes began a campaign that ran for several months which betrayed the magician’s promise to never reveal how a trick was done. In these advertisements they described the illusion, then how it was accomplished. When you describe illusions as a method of selling cigarettes, there is some sleight of hand going on.
As tobacco companies struggled with how to depict smoking in their advertising, Camels tried for a short time to show the smoke with halftone. The result is unusual to say the least.
Turkish is the Thing!
According to tobacco advertisements, Turkish tobacco is different from what is grown in the United States, yet it is a vital ingredient in all the major commercially manufactured cigarettes. Turkish tobacco leaves are much smaller and Chesterfield describes them as “spicy leaves.”
Educating Consumers about Chesterfield
Smoke Camels for “Healthy Nerves”
In November 1933, Camel’s campaign about “Healthy Nerves” featured stunt pilots, cowboys, champion athletes, and others explaining that Camels didn’t give you “edgy nerves or make you “jumpy” like other cigarettes.
Introducing “So Round and Firm, So Fully Packed, No Loose Ends”
At the end of 1933, Lucky Strike utilized two campaigns, one featured photo montages of women and tobacco fields. These ads used a photo process of dodging and burning that became popular in the early thirties, a pre-Photoshop collage technique. The other campaign featured women and the slogan “So Round and Firm, So Fully Packed, No Loose Ends” which one could say described the cigarettes but also seems to employ some double entendre.
A challenge to Camel’s claim to use “costlier tobaccos,” Lucky Strike claimed to have on hand $100 million in tobacco curing in warehouses.