Date: 2004
Brand: Kool
Manufacturer: Brown & Williamson Tobacco Corporation
Campaign: Singers & Performers
Theme: For your Throat
Keywords: Male, Singer, Filter
Quote:

Comment: Web image. This is an image of a limited edition Kool cigarette box for the Celebrate the Soundtrack to the Streets campaign. All of these collector s edition packs were designed by Kool to target young, urban teens. The back of this pack labels it as Track 2: Loud and Proud and says that MCs (Masters of Ceremony), like the guy pictured, are the voice of a movement. The MC speaks into the microphone, his voice seemingly fresh despite his addiction to Kools. He is today s embodiment of Walter Winchell, and if anything, is even more indicative of Big Tobacco s marketing to teens; the pack says that MCs are busting on topics the mainstream has never heard about, appealing to teens desire for independence and uniqueness.





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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