A Closer Look
This TV commercial for Newport menthol cigarettes aired during the 1960’s. Today these old ads can tell us something about who tobacco companies were selling their cigarettes to. This one features a middle-aged guy who looks like he might work in a factory or car repair shop. A pretty young girl on a billboard blows some second-hand smoke into his face and suddenly he’s watching a couple on the beach having a great time smoking Newports. Could it be a fantasy for working class men?
About the Media
Newport cigarette ads from the '50's and '60's usually depict a couple enjoying themselves by the water, a bridge, or a mountainside walkway, associating Menthol with a refreshing, open-air environment. Ads for tobacco were banned from TV in 1971. In 1997 Lorillard Tobacco, makers of Newport cigarettes, was part of a settlement reached by Big Tobacco and state attorneys general. These companies must now spend $500 million a year on anti-tobacco advertising.
About the Artist
We don't know who produced this commercial for Lorillard Tobaccoo Company, but it is typical of the type of cigarette ad that was seen on TV in the 1950's and '60's. They often included a jingle that was sung by a happy young person who was smoking. The jingle for Newports was "Newport tastes fresher...tastes better, too." Tobacco companies wanted people to think about taste rather than their health.