New brands of cigarettes introduced in Britain in the 1960s included B&H Special Filter (1961), Embassy (1962) and Player’s No. 6 (1965).
A report by the British Ministry of Health in 1969 showed that 100,000 people a year were dying from diseases connected with smoking.
Previously, most people had not realised that smoking was connected to cancer and other illnesses.
The last cigarette commercial shown on American network TV was aired on 1 January 1971. The Virginia Slims commercial was shown during The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson.
Cigarette manufacturers tried out a tobacco substitute in 1977, sometimes referred to as NSM (New Smoking Material).
It did not contain nicotine, but nor did it ‘taste’ right for smokers, so the brands were withdrawn.
EMBASSY NUMBER 1
Hamlet Cigars (with “Air on a G String” music)
JOHN PLAYER SPECIALS
The glammest of glam fags. They came in a black box with gold lettering. They were the sponsors of the British Formula 1 race-winning Lotus team. Lotus were so grateful for the funding that they designed a car which looked just like the John Player Specials packet and painted it black and gold (The Europa).
JOHN PLAYER VANGUARD
LAMBERT & BUTLER KING SIZE
The Marlboro Man, who rode tall in the saddle as he smoked his way through Marlboro Country, started out as the Marlboro woman.
Marlboro’s were originally marketed in the 1950s as a woman’s cigarette, “Mild as May” according to the less-than-successful ad slogan.
The soon-to-be tough guy’s cigarette even came with a red filter so the woman’s lipstick wouldn’t show up on the butt. When the ad campaign flopped. Philip Morris simply switched horses in midstream and created a symbol of manhood out of a failed symbol of womanhood.
Aimed at the upper-class smoker, Pall Mall cigarettes were introduced to British smokers in 1890 by Louis Rothman who named the brand after one of London’s most famous streets. Rothman initially sold them from a small cabin on Fleet Street.
PLAYERS NAVY CUT
John Player & Sons’ iconic sailor trademark first appeared in 1883 with the lifebuoy being added five years later. Player’s Navy Cut Medium was its most popular brand and was extensively advertised by enamelled street signs.
PLAYERS No. 6
PLAYERS No. 10
In 1973 a packet of Players No 10 (20 pack) cost 181/2 P (while a pack of Silk Cut King Size would set you back 30p)
“You’re never alone with a Strand” was the advertising line for Strand Cigarettes. The TV ad featured an actor called Terence Brooks (who looked like Frank Sinatra) standing on a street in London, wearing a trench coat, with a hat on the back of his head, stopping to light a cigarette to the strains of The Lonely Man Theme.
The advert was hugely popular and Brooks became a celebrity overnight, with the accompanying Lonely Man theme reaching number 39 on the charts. Yet, much as people loved it, they didn’t buy the product and the campaign was soon discontinued. The theory was that viewers believed that if they smoked Strand they would end up as lonely as the chap on the deserted street corner in the commercial.
For the record, Strand cost 3s 2d for a packet of twenty at the time.