Collection: Fresh as Mountain Air
In the 1930s and 1940s, Old Gold ran a series of campaigns touting “freshness” in their cigarettes. In these ads, “freshness” has a double-meaning, appearing on the surface to relate solely to whether or not the cigarettes become stale while sitting on the shelves; However, the word “fresh” is also a not-so-subliminal metaphor for healthfulness, purity, and refreshment. Ads claiming Old Golds were “Fresh as mountain air” or “Fresh as a spring crocus” (a type of flower), most clearly betray Lorillard’s true intentions. Indeed, Old Gold’s claim to “freshness” was a dangerous and misleading health claim, working to convince consumers that Old Golds were safe, and perhaps even beneficial, to their health.
Two “innovations” for the brand provided Lorillard with the opportunity to advertise its cigarettes as fresh. First, a “double-jacket” of cellophane – that is, two layers of cellophane – was wrapped around each pack, keeping Old Golds “factory-fresh,” and allowing Lorillard to advertise its cigarettes as such. The second innovation was the addition of apple “honey” as the humectant (the agent used to keep the tobacco leaves from drying out) in Old Gold’s tobacco. Apple honey – reportedly discovered through a partnership between Old Gold and the U.S. Department of Agriculture in 1943 – was Old Gold’s solution to overcoming the wartime shortage of humidifying agents. Of course, the use of apple honey also allowed for the consumer to make the subconscious leap to Old Golds being “honey for the throat.” This effect, coupled with the inference that “freshness” meant healthfulness, contributed to Old Gold’s ability to present its brand as healthful without directly making false health claims.