Collection: Directors and Producers
The 1920s and 1930s saw the heyday of celebrity endorsement, with celebrities hawking everything from soap and pantyhose to canned beans and cars. Tobacco companies were especially fond of celebrity testimonials, enlisting hundreds upon hundreds of celebrities to endorse their tobacco products well into the 1960s. In these advertisements, actors, famous singers, athletes, and even socialites graced the pages of popular magazines, editorials, and newspapers printed across the country.
Popular directors and producers did not escape the grasp of the tobacco companies. In the late 1920s and early 1930s, famous Broadway producers Florenz Ziegfeld, and George M. Cohan endorsing Lucky Strikes, along with popular Hollywood directors King Victor and Cecil B. de Mille. In the late 1940s, Philip Morris capitalized on the appeal of the director, while Winston jumped on the bandwagon in 1956 with its ads featuring photographers. The image of the handsome, seductive director persists in modern tobacco advertising, including the depiction of a director in a 2004 Camel ad.
Famous voices, in this case television stars, had a particular appeal for cigarette advertisers. The emphasis on a healthy, clear voice in the TV star’s line of work was an ideal avenue for portraying cigarettes as healthful, rather than harmful. The concept was that if a famous actress entrusted her voice and throat – her source of revenue – to a cigarette brand, then it must not be so bad! For example, a consumer might see an ad and muse, “If Lucille Ball and Desi Arnez trust Chesterfield, then it’s good enough for me.” In addition to providing health claims, television stars were also glamorous and represented a walk of life attractive to consumers who were already invested in tabloids and the lives of the Hollywood elite.
It wasn’t until 1964 that tobacco companies were banned from using testimonials from athletes, entertainers, and other famous personalities who might be appealing to consumers under 21 years of age.