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HomeCultureThe Final Cigarette Industrial Ever Aired on American TV (1971)

The Final Cigarette Industrial Ever Aired on American TV (1971)


The slogan “You’ve come a great distance, child” nonetheless has some pop-cultural forex. However what number of People underneath the age of sixty bear in mind what it marketed? The road was first rolled out in 1968 to advertise Virginia Slims, the then-new model of cigarettes marketed explicitly to ladies. “Each advert within the marketing campaign put a lady entrance and middle, equating smoking Virginia Slims with being impartial, trendy, assured and liberated,” says the American Affiliation of Promoting Businesses. “The slogan itself spoke straight in regards to the progress ladies throughout America had been preventing for.”

Such was the zeitgeist energy of Virginia Slims that they grew to become the final cigarette model ever marketed on American TV, at 11:59 p.m on January 2, 1971, throughout The Tonight Present Starring Johnny Carson. Richard Nixon had signed the Public Well being Cigarette Smoking Act, which banned cigarette commercials on broadcast media, on April 1, 1970. But it surely didn’t take impact instantly, the tobacco business having managed to barter for itself one final probability to air commercials in the course of the faculty soccer video games of New Yr’s Day 1971.

“The Philip Morris firm has purchased all business time on the primary half hour of all of the community discuss reveals tonight,” says ABC’s Harry Reasoner on a newscast from that very same day. “That’s, the final half hour on which it’s authorized to promote cigarettes on radio or tv in america. This marks, as we prefer to say, the tip of an period.” In tribute, ABC put collectively an assemblage of previous cigarette commercials. That some will really feel oddly acquainted even to these of us who wouldn’t be born for a decade or two speaks to the ability of mass media in postwar America. Greater than half a century later, now that cigarettes are seldom glimpsed even on dramatic tv, all this feels nearly surrealistically distant in historical past.

Equally hanging, actually in contrast to the style of stories anchors within the twenty-twenties, is the poetry of Reasoner’s reflection on the just-closed chapter of tv historical past. “It isn’t like saying goodbye to an previous good friend, I suppose, as a result of the docs have satisfied us they aren’t previous mates,” he admits. “However we could also be pardoned, I feel, on dim winter nights sooner or later, sitting by the hearth and nodding and saying, ‘Keep in mind L.S./M.F.T.? Keep in mind Glen Grey taking part in smoke rings for the Camel caravan? Keep in mind ‘Nature within the uncooked is seldom gentle’? Keep in mind all these ladies who who had all of it collectively?’”

Associated content material:

When the Flintstones Peddled Cigarettes

Cigarette Commercials from David Lynch, the Coen Brothers and Jean Luc Godard

Two Quick Movies on Espresso and Cigarettes from Jim Jarmusch & Paul Thomas Anderson

Wonderful Early Twentieth-Century Japanese Adverts for Beer, Smokes & Sake (1902-1954)

How Edward Munch Signaled His Bohemian Rebel with Cigarettes (1895): A Video Essay

Based mostly in Seoul, Colin Marshall writes and broadcasts on cities, language, and tradition. His tasks embrace the Substack publication Books on Cities, the ebook The Stateless Metropolis: a Stroll via Twenty first-Century Los Angeles and the video collection The Metropolis in Cinema. Comply with him on Twitter at @colinmarshall, on Fb, or on Instagram.



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