In the 1960s and ’70s, Salem advertised its cigarettes as “Springtime Fresh.” Not only did this comparison to springtime provide Salem with the perfect excuse to apply green landscapes to its advertisements (reflecting minty green menthol flavor), but, more importantly, it also served as a means of subliminally aligning Salem cigarettes with vitality.
Many of the ads pair blooming flowers and lush fields with smiling women or fun-loving couples. Both the bursting greenery and the vivacious models are tied to Salem cigarettes in the ads, instilling the brand with an apparently healthful aura by association. The same affiliation with springtime was used in 1956 by Camel, in an ad depicting a young woman with rosy cheeks ready to attend her high school prom.
Across the board, freshness was used in tobacco advertisements as a code-word for healthfulness. Kool harnessed an entirely different season in its “Snow Fresh” ads of 1958 and 1959 for a surprisingly similar effect as Salem’s “Springtime Fresh” ads of later years. But even these snowy ads capitalized on the vitality intoned by greenery, including imagery of new saplings emerging from the snow or golden autumn leaves whispering behind a young couple in love.
Menthol brands grew in popularity after the postwar “health scare,” and many other forms of “health reassurance” were offered (space-age filters of myriad sorts, promises of low-tar and/or nicotine deliveries, eventually “lights,” etc.).