Sunday, September 06, 2009


1929 was certainly the year of The Great New Yorker Cigarette War. In terms of advertisements, Chesterfields appear to have knocked off Old Golds and now hold the coveted, full-colour, back page position. And they have all stopped sparring with candy manufacturers, who had introduced a doomed "eat candy instead of having a cigarette" slogan that was easy to attack ("Smoke a cigarette to control your waistline!")

Meanwhile the Spud cigarettes gamely try to keep up. But holy crap, look at this picture.

What the HELL is going on? This is, I confess, the wackiest-looking New Yorker advertisement I've seen so far. It looks like the mad professor has just perfected his mind-control machine, and he's so excited that he can barely control his bizarre crotch.

But no, that's a radio, and they're listening to a football game, and they're so excited that they've started chain-smoking. You see, Spud's angle was that it was a "cooler" cigarette, and therefore its benefits would be noticed only after you had smoked about 36 in a row. Their motto was "Judge Spud...Not by first puff...but by first pack."

Those manipulative, evil bastards.

1 comment:

Gary said...

Finally, a socially-responsible cigarette that wants you to give it enough of a chance before judging it. How progressive!

I'm told my uncle (whom I never met, as he died at age 39, a year before I was born) was a 3-pack-a-day man. He might have embraced their Spud's philosophy.

And, yes, the gizmo looks like a mind-control machine (how appropos, given the way cigarttes dominated Madison Avenue for decades). Or, it looks like he's cracking a safe open (no doubt to steal the whole treasure trove of Spuds!).