Collection: Other Early Ads
In the early 1900s, manufactures of Turkish and Egyptian style cigarettes tripled their sales and became legitimate competitors to leading brands, inspiring the invention of many new brands, including Camel. These brands often referenced the “Oriental” roots of their Turkish tobacco blends through pack art and advertising images. They also capitalized on the Eastern-inspired fashion trends of the time, which were inspired by the Ballets Russes (1909-1929) and its performance of “Scherazade.” The vibrant colors, luxurious jewels, exoticism and suggestive nature of the images in these advertisements contributed greatly to their appeal. Women drenched in pearls, jewels and feathers, wearing harem pants or flowing dresses, were paired in the ads with men in expensive suits or in exotic turbans. The Orientalism, exoticism and luxury are evoked through Eastern-inspired garb accentuated the Turkish origins of the tobacco and presented it in an alluring, modern light. Indeed, the women in these ads, in particular, is seen as less of a reflection on Victorian femininity than a fantasy of an exotic enchantress from a foreign land or a modern woman shedding the shackles of Victorian propriety.
Other brands of the time, like London Life and Herbert Tareyton shirked the new-fangled Eastern trends in favor of the Victorian propriety of yesteryear. Gentlemen and proper ladies were featured prominently in these ads, and provided an heir of luxury and affluency without the bawdy pleasures of “Orientalism.” Still, most cigarette ads at the time, regardless of approach, involved an overarching theme of glamour and enjoying the finer things in life.