Collection: British Health Claims
Patently false health claims were by no means restricted to American cigarette brands in the early 20th century. Indeed, popular British brands like Craven “A,” Kensitas, and Greys all sported advertisements which used shockingly similar approaches to their American counterparts. It is necessary to note that tobacco was not grown in Britain; Instead, the tobacco leaves were imported from America and advertised as “Virginian.” This probably contributed to the adoption of American tobacco ad techniques by British brands. For example, the Craven “A” ads of the late 1920s and early 1930s all professed false health claims which resembled those seen stateside – the ads claimed that Craven “A” cigarettes were easy on the throat, while, contemporaneously, American brand Old Gold was advertising their cigarettes as “Not a Cough in a Carload” and Lucky Strike was professing its toasting process as protective of throats. Similarly, a number of the 1933 Craven “A” ads mirrored 1930 Old Gold ads (“Old Gold Weather”) by advertising wintertime as the season to switch to Craven “A.” The British brand Kensitas was perhaps the most derivative of all. Because Kensitas was made by J. Wix & Son, which was an American Tobacco Company (ATC) subsidiary, it used the exact same campaigns as its fellow ATC brand Lucky Strike. These identical campaigns ranged from “The Future Shadow” in the 1920s to “Be Happy Go Lucky” in the 1950s. Despite employing the same campaigns, the ads themselves were slightly different. Sometimes, the British ads would be insufferably polite, employing phrases like, “I can hardly substantiate…” or “I can assure you that…” instead of what seems to be the more straight-forward American approach.