Date: 1915
Brand: Tuxedo
Manufacturer: American Tobacco Company
Campaign: Singers & Performers
Theme: For your Throat
Keywords: Male, Throat, Voice, Irritation, Toasted, Light, Opera, Singer, Enrico Caruso
Quote: Tuxedo completely satisfies my tobacco taste. It is mild and has a delicious flavor. Most important of all, from a singers standpoint, Tuxedo does not irritate my throat.

Comment: Italian tenor Enrico Caruso (1873-1921) explains that from a singer s standpoint, Tuxedo does not irritate my throat. Caruso sang professionally for 25 years. He made his Metropolitan Opera debut in 1903 and continued singing at the Met until his fatal illness in 1920. What seemed to be a severe episode of bronchitis resulted in a throat hemorrhage during the first act of an opera at the Brooklyn Academy of Music. Though he was able to give three more performances after the hemorrhage, he struggled and was eventually diagnosed with emphysema, a collection of pus within the pleural cavity surrounding the lungs, and pleuritis, an inflammation of the lining of the pleural cavity. Pleuritis can sometimes be attributed to lung cancer, though Caruso s doctors eventually decided the source of his pleuritis might be a burst subrenal abscess. Caruso s illness was extremely painful, and he was forced to undergo seven surgeries to drain his chest and lungs of fluid. He succumbed to the illness in 1921, at the age of 48.

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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