Wednesday, November 17, 2010

TNR Archives: Tobacco Advertising in 1954

Apropos of the FDA discussion that took place this week surrounding the suggestion to include graphic images of the effects of smoking on packs of cigarettes, The New Republic sent an email today that includes an article from Walter Goodman, written in 1954, which enumerates the various campaign strategies tobacco companies used at the time to market their products. An excerpt:

"Assaulted with report after unnerving laboratory report on the link between cigarettes and cancer, the nation's tobacco lords and their Madison Avenue idea men are verging on the schizophrenic. They dare not protest too much; yet, will not silence seem to mean consent to the terrible charges of medical science."

Some of the marketing ploys: "...And speaking of Viceroy, it has a new HEALTH-GUARD filter, made of ESTRON. This 100 percent filter (an entrancing statistic) is Pure! It's Snow White, with 20,000 tiny filter traps. However…the world's most efficient filter is du Maurier's. 'No other filter tip of any composition or material takes out so much nicotine and tars and at the same time lets you draw the smoke so easily, so comfortably.'" ESTRON! Sounds like a winner.

And of course, fifty years later, tobacco companies are still tip-toeing around the undeniable evidence that there is a link between smoking and cancer, and they're mad about this whole graphic-warning-on-cigarette-packs idea. Anyway, read the 1954 TNR article, here.

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