Collection: It's Toasted
The American Tobacco Company began using the slogan “It’s Toasted” for Lucky Strike cigarettes in 1917. “It’s toasted” referred to the process of heat curing tobacco leaf as opposed to simply sun drying. Purported to “remove harmful corrosive acids (pungent irritants)” and to “sterilize” tobacco, this process of curing tobacco did not in fact differ widely from methods of other manufacturers.
The slogan, still included in small text on Lucky Strike cartons today, has been included in a variety of Lucky Strike campaigns over the decades, ranging from “Cream of the Crop” (1928-1934) to “Fat Shadow” (1929-1930) to throat referrals (1927-1937). The meaning of the message was elastic — it was at some times used to indicate better taste, while at others to indicate less throat irritation.
First used in 1917 on an ad entitled, “Do you like good toast?” the slogan was meant to intone delicious flavor: “Toasting Burley holds the flavor, and helps it… Remember– it’s toasted! Like hot buttered toast.” Perhaps this comparison to toasting and coked food allowed Lucky Strike to position itself as a sterilized cigarette, free of disease such as tuberculosis.
The following year, Lucky Strike continued with the comparison to delicious cuisine, capitalizing on the American public’s preoccupation with the WWI shortage on food; indeed, in 1918, Lucky introduced its “food conservation series” of ads, which provided consumers with advice such as “More Vegetables Less Meat,” “Eat More Corn,” and “Cheese OK’d by Food Administration.” These guidelines followed FDA recommendations on the wartime food shortage in order to legitimize the purchase of Lucky Strike cigarettes.
While the earliest “It’s toasted” ads had boasted great taste, by 1927, Lucky had changed the meaning of the slogan to throat protection: “It’s toasted. Your throat protection – against irritation – against cough.” But by 1955 they were back in the flavor realm, with “It’s toasted to taste better!” In 1970, Lucky Strike was again considering ad copy which would compare its toasted cigarettes to delicious toast. An internal industry document reveals a mock-up ad featuring two boxes of Lucky Strike popping out of a toaster under the header “Bon Appetit: It’s Toasted to Taste Better” (2).
Clearly, the slogan has an elasticity of message which has allowed Lucky Strike to make health claims whenever convenient or beneficial. The slogan is included on the side of the current packing of the Lucky Strike carton, which reads, “manufacture includes the Lucky Strike process, It's Toasted.”
1. Heimann, Robert K. “Bon Appetit.” American Tobacco. 11 Nov 1970. http://legacy.library.ucsf.edu/tid/dmv60a00