Date: 1941
Brand: Old Gold
Manufacturer: P. Lorillard
Campaign: Doctors Hawk Cigarettes
Theme: Doctors Smoking
Keywords: Male, Female, Doctor, Flavored
Quote: Is there a doctor in the house? Yes sir! And my house, too! That shingle tells you something new can do a lot for you. And remember: Something new has been added to a favorite cigarette, too, that means a lot to smokers!

Comment: This ad features a young doctor with a beautiful and adoring wife watching in earnest as he affixes his shingle to a post, signifying the opening of his very own private practice. A few years later, in 1946, Camel printed a similar ad, with a doctor hanging up his shingle as a smitten wife looks on. Having a young, happy, successful doctor smoke Old Golds would help to reassure youthful smokers that smoking must not be quite so bad for their health after all. This ad also features testimonials from Millicent Barr, noted fashion editor, and Jack Coble (1910-1984) society architect and close friend of famous singer Cole Porter. Coble designed Cole Porter s house as well as one of three homes exhibited as a House of Good Taste in the 1964 World s Fair. Old Golds are thus associated not only with health and youth, but also success and fame.

Doctors Hawk Cigarettes

In the first half of the 20th century, tobacco companies were forthright with their health claims, featuring doctors hawking cigarettes or cigars in many of their ads. Consumers who saw these ads were made to feel that they would be following the doctor s orders to achieve health or fitness if they were to smoke the cigarettes advertised. Today, these nefarious health claims in tobacco ads are no longer so obvious; now, often words like pleasure or alive are keywords which indicate healthfulness. Doctors are no longer represented hawking cigarettes in ads, but the past audacity of tobacco companies is just as relevant in modern times.

At the time when many of these ads were printed, the public was worried about throat irritation due to smoking, and tobacco companies hoped that support from physicians would ease general concern. The none-too-subtle message was that if the throat doctor, with all of his expertise, recommended a particular brand, then it must be safe. Unlike with celebrity and athlete endorsers, the doctors depicted were almost never specific individuals, because physicians who engaged in advertising would risk losing their license. It was contrary to accepted medical ethics at the time for doctors to advertise, but that did not deter tobacco companies from hiring handsome talent, dressing them up to look like doctors, and printing their photographs alongside recommendations. These images always presented an idealized physician wise, noble, and caring. This genre of ads regularly appeared in medical journals such as the Journal of the American Medical Association, an organization which for decades collaborated closely with the industry. The big push to document health hazards also did not appear until later.

In this theme, countless brands depict doctors hawking tobacco products in order to present the brand as healthful rather than harmful An early Old Gold ad shows a doctor lighting a woman s cigarette as a prescription for pleasure (1938), Viceroy depicts doctors recommending the Viceroy brand (1950, 1953), and countless depictions of doctors recommend Ricoro, Gerard, or other brands of cigars. It is ironic that in the process, they all manage to reveal the negative potential of tobacco by providing the consumer with the concept of an unhealthy cigarette or cigar in the first place.

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