Date: 1959
Brand: L&M
Manufacturer: Liggett & Myers Tobacco Company
Campaign: Singers & Performers
Theme: For your Throat
Keywords: Male, Female, Throat, Filter, Tar, Singer, Jim Arnes, Jimmie Rogers
Quote: L&M's patented filtering process adds extra filter fibers electrostatically crosswise to the stream of smoke makes L&M truly low in tar.

Comment: American pop singer Jimmie Rodgers (1933-present) poses with his first wife and their family cat. He sings the L&M jingle which claims that L&M cigarettes have low amounts of tar but more taste. Rodgers was a star of an L&M television show on NBC at the time. His wife, Colleen, is shown supporting her husband and smoking a cigarette; she passed away from a stroke in the late 1960s. Rodgers remarried twice after her death, and in 1999 he reported that he has been suffering from spastic dysphonia for many years, a condition which affects the voice. Spastic dysphonia causes the sufferer to experience involuntary movements of larynx muscles during speech or song. At the bottom of the ad, another celebrity testimonial appears, this one from actor James Arness (1923-2011). Both Jims agree, the ad says. Arness was most famous for his 20-year recurring role as Marshal Matt Dillon on the TV series Gunsmoke. Arness passed away in 2011 from heart failure.

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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