This is the second type of cigarette ads I’ve discovered.  The Smart Set can have their frou-frou cigarettes, but these cigarettes are for the working people!

Interestingly, some of them seem targeted for a much younger audience. The first three ads are courtesy Phillip Morris, including the comic strip, which is an elaborate choice for an ad. After that, you’ll see a selection of the finest tobacco available.

This post brings you some bold marketing slogans, too, like “Not a Cough in a Carload!” and some other great ones.

Let me know which cigarette you would buy based on these ads in the poll or the comments! 

1948 Phillip Morris ad


1948 Phillip Morris ad. “Definitely less irritating” is an interesting marketing angle!


1948 ad seems to be targeted for children and teenagers


1913 ad – Zira is for hard workers!


1928 ad for the secretaries


1921 Camel ad – the cigarettes look like clothes-pins here


1914 Gail & Ax cigarettes… this looks super dangerous


1930 ad for Old Gold – Love, Every Smoker


1941 Marvels ad – for those who find pleasure in savings




As I’m finishing this third book, I’ve been looking in the newspapers archives a lot, and I was a little surprised to find how cigarettes were marketed as far back as the 1910s. It was pretty targeted.  So far I’ve identified three distinct types:

  • Cigarettes that appeal to the Smart Set
  • Cigarettes that appeal to the Everyman (or Everywoman)
  • Cigarettes that replace food or equate to food

I give you cigarettes for the Smart Set!

Choose the cigarette you’d buy in the poll at the end of this post!

1923 ad – You’d like to be swell like this guy, would you?


1915 ad – These guys remind me of people on their smart phones


1937 ad featuring minor celebrities


1914 ad wholesome cigarettes for the distinctive individual


1937 Old Gold ad



This is a bit outside our normal timeframe, but I hope you like this little story.

In April 1937, Mr. and Mrs. Stewart William Blodgett, were still new to Oakland, California. The couple had moved to California from Saint Paul, Minnesota, with their 5 year old son, William Grinnell Blodgett II. One day, the boy was at a local park with two neighbor children, when he was kidnapped.

Leroy Gardener, 5, and Joan Gardener, 8, told police that a smiling, hatless young man of about 23 had approached them in the park early in the afternoon. He wore a gray suit and white shoes, and he suggested a race to the corner store for candy, the children said. During the race, the children became separated. Leroy said he saw William and the young man get into a brown roadster with a light tan top, Captain James Ritchie, sheriff’s investigator, reported.

It was not until an hour later when the boy’s father went to the park in search of his son that anyone knew about the kidnapping.  Mr. Blodgett appeared to be perplexed by the whole situation. He didn’t know anyone who would want to kidnap his son, and he wasn’t in financial circumstances to pay a large ransom.

Five hours later, just before dark, William walked into a gas station about 5 miles away from home.  An explanatory note pinned to his clothing read:

“I was going to hold this boy for ransom, but I decided to go straight. Please get him to his parents in Berkeley. I am in great need, but would rather starve than make his parents suffer. If they want to contact me, let them address me as Chuck in Wednesday’s Oakland Tribune.”

William Grinnell Blodgett


A grave, quiet child, William, was reportedly unimpressed by his adventure.

When his anxious mother asked how he was, he replied, “I’m hungry.”

His mother produced a piece of pie. A news photographer asked the boy to pick up the pie for a “picnic picture.”

“No,” said the child, “I don’t pick up my pie. I’d like a spoon, please.” After finishing his pie, William went to bed.

I’m a little torn about this behavior from William. On the one hand, it’s pretty funny he put the news photographer in his place. On the other hand, this child is so imperturbable, it’s unsettling. What 5-year-old gets kidnapped, dropped off at a strange gas station, and returns home to face a bevy of police and reporters, but has nothing to say, beyond a polite request for a spoon?

I’m guessing “Chuck” the kidnapper was never found. I looked at the Oakland Tribune for the following day, and there was one obscure reference that might be connected.

The newspapers didn’t relay anything William told them about the encounter, and I couldn’t find any follow up to this story. I’ve learned not to say, “That’s the last we’ll ever hear of this story!” because that makes it almost inevitable it will resurface later, but the important thing is, everything turned out well for William.

All’s well that ends well