The Final Cigarette Business 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 Individuals 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 girls. “Each advert within the marketing campaign put a lady entrance and heart, equating smoking Virginia Slims with being impartial, fashionable, assured and liberated,” says the American Affiliation of Promoting Companies. “The slogan itself spoke immediately concerning the progress girls throughout America have 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. However it didn’t take impact instantly, the tobacco business having managed to barter for itself one final likelihood 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 speak exhibits 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 the USA. This marks, as we prefer to say, the top 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 facility 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 placing, definitely in contrast to the way of reports 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 buddy, I assume, 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 enjoying smoke rings for the Camel caravan? Keep in mind ‘Nature within the uncooked is seldom delicate’? Keep in mind all these women 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

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

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

Primarily based in Seoul, Colin Marshall writes and broadcasts on cities, language, and tradition. His tasks embody the Substack e-newsletter Books on Cities, the e-book The Stateless Metropolis: a Stroll by Twenty first-Century Los Angeles and the video sequence The Metropolis in Cinema. Observe him on Twitter at @colinmarshall, on Fb, or on Instagram.



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