Advertising on TV: by
your matchless friend, Billy Ingram
with video contributions from Jeff Vilencia and Wesley Hyatt
UP & LIGHT UP
(OR VICE VERSA)
manufacturers were one of the first industries to advertise widely
on television. They had deep pockets and could afford to gamble
on a new advertising medium, footing the bill for a host
of early classic television programs. Ironically,
in just a few short decades, they were cast away from the medium
they helped create.
television expanded its reach and proved more effective as a marketing
tool, advertisers lined up to buy spots and main sponsor's were
no longer required or desired; not having one big sponsor meant
less interference in the content of the program.
are a few examples of how smokes were sold using television personalities
and cartoon characters.
(1953-1956) was a sitcom that featured the aristocratic Cosmo
Topper (Leo G. Carroll) and his piss elegant ghostly visitors
George and Marion Kirby (played by Anne Jeffries and Robert Sterling).
What else would they be doing with their time off together but
really gets into it, he's simply mad about his Camels,
"They're mild, the way I like mildness. And they have flavor,
the way I like flavor!" It looked more like he was smoking
David Mikelberg tells us, "You mentioned that Leo G. Carroll
'looked more like he was smoking crack' in the Camel commercial.
Did you also notice on the credits that the co-writer of that
particular episode was Stephen Sondheim? Mama Rose, Sweeney Todd,
Cosmo Topper - all just a bit mad. This could explain the look
on Carroll's face."
the end of this particular Topper episode, Anne Jeffries
declares that free cigarettes are going out to injured servicemen
in veterans hospitals around the country. Now, that's an industry
with a heart. Smoke up boys, doctor's orders!
(1951-1957) was also sponsored by a cigarette maker for a while,
Phillip Morris, who promised their customers, "Smoke
for pleasure today. No cigarette hangover tomorrow!" That sponsorship meant added scenes of Lucy and Desi smoking in
the program's intro and the "Call for Phillip Moooriiiiuuss"
kid in commercial transitions.
this advertisement, Desi asks for a cigarette and Lucy
happily fetches the Phillip Morris - "You see how easy it
is to keep your man happy?" she
also get to see what the closing to the show really looked like,
the heart image we're used to seeing on reruns was created in
the late-fifties for the syndication package.
of TV's first stars was the Old Gold
dancing cigarette pack of the early 1950s, a truly bizarre
advertising concoction - an oversized cigarette pack with lovely
legs that danced aimlessly around in front of a curtain while
the announcer promised a taste, "made by tobacco men, not
medicine men." Because
if you're going to ingest something into your lungs, better it
was sanctioned by a North Carolina dirt scratcher than some high
falutin' doctor, right?
Snow tells us about being a dancing cigarette pack: "My dancing
career is so long behind me but the Old Gold commercial keeps
coming up in current TV. I was one of the cigarette packs (with
Gloria Vestoff who probably replaced Dixie Dunbar) on Stop
the Music with Bert Parks in 1950 & 51 - under my maiden
name Jeanne Jones (sometimes Jeannie). Harry Salter was the conductor,
Jimmy Nygren the choreographer. Other dancers were Louise Ferrand,
Bruce Cartwright and Tom Hansen.
we were NEVER called the Dancing Butts & in my tenure, there
was no longer a match box."
You Tube - a run of 1960's cigarette commercials:
tastes good like a cigarette should." That slogan,
set to music, was one of the first hummable TV commercials, debuting
in the mid-fifties and running all throughout the sixties. Grammar
teachers and language purists cried foul so Winston answered with
a new slogan - "What do you want, good grammar or good taste?"
movie stars were happy to endorse smokes on TV as well, and the
number one celebrity of the era was the Duke. John
Wayne appeared for Camel in 1952, speaking highly of the
product: "Mild and good tasting pack after pack. And I know,
I've been smokin' em for twenty years." This commercial was
filmed in conjunction with Wayne's movie Big Jim McLain.
(or not), John Wayne died of lung cancer twenty-seven years after
that spot aired; some of the last
commercials he filmed were to ask people to stop smoking.
when the government made a big stink about Joe Camel in the nineties?
They were outraged that more kids recognized Camel's cartoon carton-pusher
than could ID Mickey Mouse. Camels were flying off the shelves
and (presumably) into the tiny fingers of young children.
was nothing new, cartoon characters had been selling cigarettes
for decades, particularly on television.
If I told you the original network run
Flintstones (1960-1966) was sponsored by a cigarette maker
and that you could watch the main
characters smoking Winstons at the end of the show, you
probably wouldn't believe me. This animated series was a prime-time
show, considered adult fare in 1960, so I guess nobody thought
any better of it.
With a large audience
of youngsters tuning in at 8:30pm, was this proof that the tobacco
companies were targeting younger potential smokers decades before
Joe Camel? The Flintstones could also be seen selling beer during
commercial breaks, for what that's worth.
the commercial from You Tube:
Byrd tells us, "By the time Pebbles was born in 1963, the Flintstones
were no longer pitching Winstons... they were selling Motorolas
and Welch's grape juice. No way would Winstons have sponsored
a cartoon sitcom with a baby character." Especially since it was
in 1964 that the U.S. Surgeon General declared smoking was harmful
to one's health.
course, Fred and Wilma weren't the only cartoon characters making
cigarettes appear cute and cuddly in the early-sixties - there
were original tobacco company concoctions.
Chesterfield King and his lovable friends were animated
animals that hawked Chesterfield King cigarettes in a stylish
set of commercials. The main voices for this spot (and the next
example) came from Daws Butler, the guy who gave life to many
of the most memorable kidvid characters of all time (like Huckleberry
Hound, Yogi Bear, Snagglepuss, Mutley, Quick Draw McGraw and dozens
In fact, some of the characterizations he
used for these cigarette spots were identical to voices he used
for those Hanna-Barbera children's favorites. Then again, how
many voices can a guy have?
In another Daws Butler spot, average (cartoon) guys Harry
and Juggernaut Jones sold Marlboros from the sports booth.
"You get a lot to like in a Marlboro - filter, flavor, pack
or box" was the catchy musical jingle everyone was humming.
in 1961 promised
that, "you smoke refreshed" - you have to admire a product that
offers "a breath of springtime freshness" in every puff. We're
talking about a cigarette, right?
these advertisements were so successful, maybe tobacco companies
should consider coming out with a product that actually DOES deliver
a breath of spring (instead of future legal liabilities). They
proved there was a market for it. Those
cardboard scented Christmas trees you see in people's cars could
be rolled up and packaged by the carton.
the sponsor's jingle was a famous as the TV show theme song. The
Addams Family (1964-1966) was brought to you by Dutch
Masters Cigars, with the famous Dutch Masters chorus - "Step
up to Dutch Masters, and smile, brother smile!" (After you
brush your teeth, please.)
the late-sixties, cigarette companies portrayed their clients
not as addicted but motivated, active and loyal - a man or woman
with a black eye would exclaim, "Us
Tareyton smokers would rather fight that switch";
a rugged guy imparted, "Me and my Winstons, we got a real
good thing," Marlboro smokers were urged to "Come to where the flavor
is," while Camel devotees pledged, "I would walk a mile
for a Camel."
Not surprisingly, manufacturers
have always looked for new ways to modify their products and create
new brands. A brilliant example would be Benson
and Hedges 100s in 1967.
was one of the most celebrated and effective ad campaigns of all
time. Benson and Hedges actually built a brand name (and consumer
demand) by making fun of their product, illustrating the distinct
disadvantages of smoking a longer cigarette.
It's funny in retrospect to see that lighting
up was once considered acceptable behavior at the office, in elevators and other crowded public places. This was before smokers lost
their God-given constitutional right to light up any place they
liked and became just another oppressed minority crying out for
You Tube - 1970 (?) commercial for Kools. "Come up to Kools."
last cigarette TV commercial (for Virginia Slims) was broadcast
on the Johnny Carson Tonight Show at 11:59pm on January
1, 1971. It was expected to be devastating for the networks when
tobacco ads were banned - but they did all right without them,
in spite of immediately losing $220 million dollars a year in
they make more than that from anti-smoking ads!
DID YOU KNOW:
Tobacco companies were spending more than $12.5 billion a year on advertising
and promotion at the turn of the century but U.S. cigarette sales actually fell nearly 5.5 percent from 2000
Several weeks ago, I stumbled upon TVparty's exhibit, "Smoke and
be somebody.....". I wanted to personally thank you for posting
that John Wayne PSA that he did back in 1972.
mom died from lung cancer on September 6th of this year. My dad
died five years ago due to smoking related cancer that spread
into bone cancer.
though "Duke's" life ended over 30+ years ago, his announcement
still rings today..... "Get a checkup. Nag someone you like into
getting a checkup. Nag someone you love into getting a checkup.
And while you're at it, send a check to the American Cancer Society,
too." I only wish my late mother and father paid attention
to cancer's warning signs.
of that PSA you had on TVparty, I have just sent a check
to the American Cancer Society. My wife is a breast cancer survivor,
again and please keep that PSA up and running. Maybe, it could
make a big difference to someone who really needs to get a checkup.
Hopefully, they will not have to go through what my family just
did with the loss of my Mom.