Date: 1946
Brand: Old Gold
Manufacturer: P. Lorillard
Campaign: Singers & Performers
Theme: For your Throat
Keywords: Male, Throat, Voice, Irritation, Cough, Television, Singer, Frank Sinatra

Comment: American singer and actor Frank Sinatra (1915-1998), known affectionately as Ol Blue Eyes, endorses Old Gold in this advertisement, which also publicizes his Old Gold radio show. Musician Axel Stordahl (1912-1963) is also mentioned in the advertisement. Stordahl passed away from cancer of undisclosed type at the age of 50. At the bottom of the ad is a shout-out to comedian Harry Parkyakarkus Parke (1904-1958) s Old Gold show. Parke was struck by a fatal heart attack at the age of 54 after performing a comedy routine at a roast. Aside from this Old Gold radio show, Sinatra additionally co-starred on the Lucky Strike Your Hit Parade show form 1943 to 1949. Chesterfield also ran two ad featuring Sinatra in 1957 and 1958. Clearly he got around when it came to cigarette endorsements. Sinatra passed away after suffering from two heart attacks, though the official cause of death was reported to be complications from senility, heart and kidney disease, and bladder cancer.

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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