Diet pop culture: Lucky Strike.


“Reach for a Lucky instead of a sweet” is probably one of the more well-known taglines in advertising history. That doesn’t prevent it from creeping me the fuck out every time I encounter it.

And you’ll never guess who the inspiration was for this little gem —

In the November 19, 1948 issue of Printers’ Ink, Vincent Riggio, President of The American Tobacco Company, relates the alerting story of one of the most famous of all sales-building cigarette campaigns —

“Some years ago, I was riding up town with George W. Hill, and we had gone about five miles through New York City without Mr. Hill having spoken one word. He was thinking deeply about something, and knowing Mr. Hill, I did not interrupt his trend of thought.

“This went on for a while, and we were obliged to stop for a traffic light. The car was standing there for a few minutes, and Mr. Hill grabbed me and said, ‘I’ve got it.’ Then, ‘Look,’ he said, pointing to a stout woman who was standing on the sidewalk waiting to cross the street. This woman had a big piece of candy in her hand and was eating it. A taxicab had pulled up between the sidewalk and our car, the occupant of which was a slender, nice looking woman smoking a cigarette. I noticed the contrast immediately. Mr. Hill said again, ‘I’ve got it…”Reach for a Lucky Instead of a Sweet.”‘

“Many in marketing today believe that campaign created more women smokers than any other single promotional effort.”

-Julian Lewis Watkins, The 100 Greatest Advertisements, 1959

— Some poor innocent bystander of a fat lady, who had the audacity to eat candy in public.

Naturally, the throat-soothing action of deliciously toasted tobacco is far more wholesome and good for the constitution than abandoning oneself to the horrors of corpulence.

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