American Women in Tobacco Advertisements 1929-1939

The research topic is centered on tobacco advertisements that were created by the American Tobacco Company between 1929-1939. The approach is focused on examining how Lucky Strike cigarettes were advertised to American women, and to determine the motives, efficiency, and shortcomings of the advertisements, as well as the different tactics that were deployed to enhance the female market during the Great Depression era. Primary sources that will be examined are Lucky Strike advertisements featuring and promoting the sale of tobacco to women. All advertisements can be found on the Stanford Research Institute website.

The purpose for using Omeka is ultimately to incorporate various advertisements on an interactive website, which allows for better engagement and analysis to be conducted, and it provides the public with further information concerning the selling of tobacco to women. The websites provides a platform focused on promoting the digitization of history more broadly.

The aim of the project is to identify the history of tobacco advertising, specifically the ones affiliated with American Tobacco Company. Specifically, the research will identify the advertisement mediums used to target women, as well as the general information regarding the advertising and the company. The Torches of Freedom campaign will be briefly examined. Furthermore, Lucky Strike used many different campaigns, which will be analyzed more broadly.

Lucky Strike Campaigns:

Lucky Strike used various campaigns to promote and sell tobacco to women, which can be broken down into three general categories: Weight and Slimness; Love and Femininity; and Fashion and Elitism. Each campaign sought to advertise nicotine products to American women by publicly endorsing female smokers, and promoting cigarettes as symbols of emancipation. The purpose was to increase the American Tobacco Company’s profitability by pushing for higher numbers of female consumers, leading to an upsurge in Lucky Strike’s market share.

Weight and Slimness:

The campaign was organized under the American Tobacco Company and promoted by Lucky Strike cigarettes, specifically focusing on weight loss, slimness, and avoiding overindulgence or temptation. The slogans that were used include: “Reach for a Lucky,” “Future Shadow Faces,” and “Tempted to Over-Indulge.”

Love and Femininity:

The campaign was headed by the American Tobacco Company and promoted by Lucky Strike cigarettes, and it pertained to various themes relating to health, feminine imagery, love and tradition. Slogans that were used include: “Sunshine Mellows,” and “Couples in Love.”

Fashion and Elitism:

The campaign was led by the American Tobacco Company and promoted by Lucky Strike cigarettes, particularly centered on the elite and upper-class American women, specifically using celebrity endorsements and fashionable imagery to promote the product. Various slogans that were used include: “Your Adams Apple,” “It’s Toasted,” “Cream of Crop,” and “High Fashion.”