Smoking Room: Lucky Strike Cigarette Vintage Ad
Lucky Strike is a famous brand of American cigarettes, often referred to as “Luckies”. The brand was first introduced by R.A. Patterson of Richmond, Virginia, in 1871 as cut-plug chewing tobacco and later a cigarette. In 1905, the company was acquired by the American Tobacco Company (ATC), and Lucky Strike would later prove to be its answer to R.J. Reynolds’ Camel.
In 1917, the brand started using the slogan “It’s Toasted” to inform consumers about the manufacturing method in which the tobacco is toasted rather than sun-dried, a process touted as making the cigarette’s taste more desirable. The message “L.S.M.F.T.” (“Lucky Strike means fine tobacco”) was introduced on the package in the same year.
Lucky Strike’s association with radio music programs began during the 1920s on NBC. By 1928, the bandleader and vaudeville producer B. A. Rolfe was performing on radio and recording as “B.A. Rolfe and his Lucky Strike Orchestra” for Edison Records. In 1935, ATC began to sponsor Your Hit Parade, featuring North Carolina tobacco auctioneer Lee Aubrey “Speed” Riggs (later, another tobacco auctioneer from Lexington, Kentucky, F.E. Boone, was added).
The weekly radio show’s countdown catapulted the brand’s success, remaining popular for 25 years. The shows capitalized on the tobacco auction theme and each ended with the signature phrase “Sold, American.” The company’s advertising campaigns generally featured a theme that stressed the quality of the tobacco purchased at auction for use in making Lucky Strike cigarettes and claimed that the higher quality tobacco resulted in a cigarette with better flavor. American engaged in a series of advertisements using Hollywood actors as endorsers of Lucky Strike, including testimonials from Douglas Fairbanks concerning the cigarette’s flavor.