Chesterfield launched its “Best for You” campaign in 1950. The obvious message was that Chesterfields were the cigarette that was “best” for the smoker. It is unclear whether this slogan ironically implies that other cigarettes are bad for the smoker, and that Chesterfields are merely the lesser of the evils, or if the slogan is falsely claiming that all cigarettes are good for you, but that Chesterfields are best. Either way, the slogan was manipulative and misleading. Along with print advertisements, Chesterfield also featured the “Best for You” slogan on Perry Como’s Chesterfield radio show.
Despite the patently false and misleading health claims implicit in the slogan, the campaign lasted well into 1957. The campaign’s longevity may seem surprising in the face of the Federal Trade Commission's (FTC’s) 1955 advertising guidelines, which prohibited cigarette manufacturers from publishing claims regarding lower tar or lower nicotine without scientific proof. The guidelines proved to be relatively ineffective, with brands using dubious science to prove their figures. This continued until 1960 when the FTC and the tobacco manufacturers agreed to discontinue such tar and nicotine advertisements for good. However, everything reverted when, in 1966, the U.S. Public Health Service (PHS) reported that scientific evidence suggests that “the lower the tar and nicotine content of cigarette smoke, the less harmful would be the effect.” Though much later on, in 1994, this claim would be challenged and torn down by the FTC as false, it was widely accepted at the time. As a result, in 1966 the FTC discontinued its 1960 ruling which had banned tobacco companies from reporting tar and nicotine claims in advertising. This meant that misleading data on tar and nicotine content would continue in advertising well into the latter half of the twentieth century.