Date: 1950
Brand: Camel
Manufacturer: R. J. Reynolds Tobacco Company
Campaign: Singers & Performers
Theme: For your Throat
Keywords: Male, Female, Throat, Voice, Irritation, Cough, Television, Opera, Singer, Luxury, Marguerite Piazza
Quote: Because my voice is so important to my career, I had to be sure my cigarette was right for my throat. And, thanks to a very sensible test, I now know what cigarette mildness means.

Comment: American Opera, Broadway and television star Marguerite Piazza endorses Camel cigarettes in this ad and in a matching television commercial. Piazza explains that her voice is vital for her career, and so I had to be sure my cigarette was right for my throat. 1950 marked Piazza s Broadway debut which resulted in a four-year recurring role on the NBC television show, Your Show of Shows. In 1968, Piazza underwent operations to remove malignant melanoma from her face followed by painful plastic surgery operations to fix the damage. In 1971, she became chairman of the National Crusade for the American Cancer Society for which she traveled to 27 cities to perform and give speeches to raise money for the cause. Then, in 1973, she was successfully treated for both uterine and cervical cancer. Studies have indicated that smoking is a risk factor for development and progression of cervical cancer in women with oncogenic HPV; however, smoking is linked with a decrease in uterine cancer risk.

Singers & Performers

In the 1920s, tobacco companies began enlisting hundreds of celebrities to endorse their products. In these advertisements, movie stars, famous singers, athletes, and even socialites graced the pages of popular magazines, editorials, and newspapers printed across the country. The 1920s and 1930s were the heyday of celebrity endorsement, with celebrities hawking everything from cigarettes to soap, from pantyhose to cars. However, it seems that no company was as prolific in its celebrity ad copy as Lucky Strike.

Singers were vital components of celebrity testimonial campaigns for cigarette companies; the emphasis on healthy, clear voices in the singers line of work was an ideal avenue for portraying cigarettes as healthful, rather than harmful. The concept was that if a famous singer entrusted her voice and throat her source of revenue to a cigarette brand, then it must not be so bad! If it s good enough for Frank Sinatra, it s good enough for me, a consumer might decide. It is ironic, of course, that these ads also worked to reveal the possible side effects of smoking by providing a problem (irritated throats, for example) and a solution (smoke our brand.) Still, this problem-solution advertising was very popular at the time, and worked to position one brand as the exception to the problem rule or as the least problematic of all cigarette brands. It also served to trivialize health side effects of smoking, masking more serious side effects in the process.

Stars were also used to attract a younger crowd. Stars were glamorous and represented a walk of life attractive to consumers who were already invested in tabloids and the lives of the show business elite. It wasn t until 1964 that tobacco companies were banned from using testimonials from athletes, entertainers, and other famous personalities who might be appealing to consumers under 21 years of age.

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