“A 1928 advertisement for Lucky Strike cigarettes said, ‘Reach for a Lucky instead of a sweet,’ until the confection industry threatened legal action. In 1930, the ad was rewritten to say, ‘We do not represent that smoking Lucky Strike Cigarettes will bring modern figures or cause the reduction of flesh. We do declare that when tempted to do yourself too well, if you will “Reach for a Lucky” instead, you will thus avoid over-indulgence in things that cause excess weight and, by avoiding over-indulgence, maintain a modern, graceful form.’
“There is some truth to this claim, says George Bray, professor of medicine at the Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Baton Rouge, since cigarettes do ‘stimulate energy expenditure’ (or burn calories) and probably do substitute for snacking for some users. And those who quit smoking do tend to gain weight when they replace the oral gratification of smoking with eating. But no one can call cigarette usage a healthy approach.”
— From “From Lucky Strikes to tapeworms: 7 of the oddest weight-loss schemes of the past were also unhealthy” by Debra Bruno in the Washington Post (Jan. 27)
Lucky Strike [since appearing prominently in “Mad Men”]
THEN Once this best-selling brand in the United States (and the cigarette of choice for Don Johnson’s character on “Miami Vice”) was selling 23 billion cigarettes a year.
NOW Its seemingly omnipresent place in Don Draper’s hands may not be the direct cause, but sales have grown by 35 percent since 2007. Even Don’s public cri de coeur against ever representing tobacco companies again, published in a letter to The New York Times after Lucky Strike left Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce in Season 4, hasn’t put much of a dent in sales.
— From “A Lucky Strike, Indeed: ‘Mad Men’ Enters Its Final Season in an Altered World” by Lorne Manly in the New York Times (April 11)
“If [George Washington Hill, president of American Tobacco, 1925-1946] did not invent the hard sell, he nonetheless drove it to new heights. Selling Lucky Strikes became his obsession. Packages dangled on strings in the windows of his Rolls Royce, which had the Lucky Strike logo emblazoned on its taillights. Hill named his pet dachshunds Lucky and Strike and grew tobacco in the garden of his Hudson River estate.
“Even Albert Lasker, his adman, found Hill’s excesses notable: ‘The only purpose in life to him was to wake up, to eat and to sleep so that he’d have the strength to sell more Lucky Strikes.’ ”
— From “The Cigarette Century: The Rise, Fall and Deadly Persistence of the Product that Defined America” (2007) by Allan M. Brandt