Collection: Sunshine Mellows
Lucky Strike’s “Sunshine Mellows” campaign (1931) claimed that the brand used Ultra Violet Rays in its “toasting” process because “everyone knows that sunshine mellows.” The ads featured models tanning on the beach, soaking up the sun’s rays in bathing suits while appearing healthy with flushed cheeks and sun-kissed skin.
The photo captions explain the health benefits of sunshine – "The advice of your physician is: keep out of doors, in the open air, breathe deeply; take plenty of exercise in the mellow sunshine, and have a periodic check-up on the health of your body.” This medical advice mirrors that employed in sanatoriums, tuberculosis treatment centers which advocated heliotherapy and sunbathing as methods to treat tuberculosis patients prior to the mass production of penicillin in the 1940s.
The secondary slogan for these ads, listed after “Sunshine Mellows,” is “Heat Purifies.” This slogan suggests that the toasting process also provides a sanitization and purification of the tobacco leaf. A Lucky strike pamphlet claimed that “As it [the tobacco] tosses and turns in this huge chamber every shred is irradiated . . . every golden strand is mellowed, toned up” (1).
Both slogans, “Sunshine Mellows” and “Heat Purifies” are health claims attributed to the “It’s Toasted” campaign. While the earliest “It’s toasted” ads from 1917 and 1918 had boasted great taste, by 1927, Lucky had changed the meaning of the slogan from indicating great taste to indicating throat protection: “It’s toasted. Your throat protection – against irritation – against cough” and health benefits such as those purported by “Sunshine Mellows.” But by 1955 Lucky Strike was back in the flavor realm, with “It’s toasted to taste better!” Clearly, the slogan has an elasticity of message which allowed Lucky Strike to make health claims whenever convenient or beneficial.
1. “’Sold American’, ‘It’s Toasted’, ‘Sunshine Mellows’, Judge This Evidence For Yourself, Luckies Finer Tobaccos Means Natural Mildness.” American Tobacco. 1940. http://legacy.library.ucsf.edu/tid/pdx15f00