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October 20, 2022

A Series of American Tobacco Company’s Bizarre Ads Promoting Lucky Strike Cigarettes From the 1930s

Lucky Strike is an American brand of cigarettes owned by the British American Tobacco group. Individual cigarettes of the brand are often referred to colloquially as “Luckies.” Throughout their 150 year history Lucky Strike has had fluctuating market relevance, with the brand peaking in the 1930s and 1940s becoming one of the top-selling cigarette brand in the United States.

The brand was first introduced by R. A. Patterson of Richmond, Virginia, in 1871 as cut plug and later a cigarette. In 1905, the company was acquired by the American Tobacco Company (ATC). In 1917, the brand debuted the slogan “It’s Toasted” to tout the manufacturing method of toasting, rather than sun drying, the tobacco, a process claimed to improve the flavor of the product. In an attempt to counter that popular campaign, competitor Camel went in the other direction, claiming that Camel was a “fresh” cigarette “never parched or toasted.”

In the late 1920s, the brand was sold as a route to thinness for women. One typical ad said, “Reach for a Lucky instead of a sweet.” Sales of Lucky Strikes increased by more than 300% during the first year of the advertising campaign. In the early 1930s, Al Jolson was also paid to endorse the brand; he called Lucky Strike “the cigarette of the acting profession... the good old flavor of Luckies is as sweet and soothing as the best ‘Mammy’ song ever written.” Sales went from 14 billion cigarettes in 1925 to 40 billion in 1930, making Lucky Strike the leading brand nationwide.

Here, below is a collection of some of bizarre ads of Lucky Strike cigarettes from between the late 1920s and early 1930s:


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