This theme features ads from the now discontinued brand of cigarettes, Fact. A brand first introduced to national markets in November of 1976, Fact holds a positive connotation to its name. Similar to Vantage’s “candid” approach, the Fact ads are straightforward and profess to be nothing but scientific truth. With science comes health, and this cigarette clearly implies it is a healthier cigarette with its “selective” filter.
An internal B&W industry document from 1973 reveals the thought process behind the manufacture of Fact: “The primary source for achieving the growth objective is new brands,” the document says, and “the principal thrust will be in the ‘health’ area” (1). Three years later, Fact was released as B&W’s answer to Philip Morris’s Merit brand, and its ad copy reflects the source of inspiration; short, crisp, authoritative sentences and what seems to be a basis in science ground the ads. Unlike Merit, however, Fact was pulled from the market after only two years on shelves. In 1978, B&W discontinued production of Fact cigarettes, as “the brand failed to meet the company’s sales expectations” (2).
As is the case with the majority of products on the market, brands of cigarettes were named in order to send particular messages to consumers. The brand name “Kool,” for example, not only reminds consumers of the throat-cooling sensation of menthols, but it also speaks to the word’s meaning in slang; to be “cool” is to be hip and trendy. The choice of certain brand names also extends to tobacco companies’ efforts to ease the concerns of worried smokers. Indeed, when the tobacco companies could no longer rely on explicit health claims in their advertisements due to FTC regulation, they developed countless methods to subliminally convey the same message, including brand name. Fact is an obvious example of this movement.
1. “Industry Data.” March 1973. Brown & Williamson. http://legacy.library.ucsf.edu/tid/zol50f00.
2. “Statement for Press Queries: Fact Suspension. 28 April 1978. Brown & Williamson. http://legacy.library.ucsf.edu/tid/mip81d00