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Is women’s freedom the work of the tobacco companies?

At the beginning of the 20th century, smoking in the street could get you not only a fine but also imprisonment for 30 days. Moreover, for example in New York in 1908 it was forbidden to smoke at all! But the law was in force for only two weeks and it was applicable only… Women only. Yes, everyone could smoke at that time, but only not for the ladies who had the right in 1900-s if they had it, then not much.

Though, as historians declare, women were allowed to smoke all the same, but only inside the house and nobody could see it. Well, if a lady was decent, the prohibitions did not apply to women of low social responsibility… This did not mean that they had more rights)

Now all this would be called a radically sexist attitude towards women and, yes, it was so, because the society of that time was exclusively male and a lady in it was seen as an obligatory addition, but no more than that. What about smoking! It was forbidden for a woman even to go out in the street without being accompanied by a man! Or rather, it was considered extremely indecent.

Moreover, public smoking of ladies was treated more sharply in the USA than, let’s say, in Europe. Historical fact – when the French diva Sarah Bernhardt smoked a cigarette in an American restaurant, the staff erected a special screen around her table. In order not to shock the audience.)

It is said that the tobacco companies provoked the development of feminism as a counterbalance to the existing patriarchy. In fact, they only took advantage of the situation, the opportunity to expand the audience of customers and nothing more. Although, yes, there were all kinds of provocations) For example, to this day it is believed that all tobacco advertising, throughout the 20th century, was aimed exclusively at women and minors.

No, there was the same advertising for men, but men were considered a more stable audience, which does not need to be constantly stimulated by colorful images) But women… It’s a different matter, subtle, with a complex mental organization. Although… The principles of manipulation were not very different).

For example, the release of brands “exclusively for women”. That’s how the promotion of Marlboro cigarettes began. But this in the first half of the 20th century was still more of an exception, personalized cigarette brands were still rare. Most often the manipulation of advertising was based on “example” and “imitation. Almost all big brands at that time were advertised by celebrities of all kinds. And not always even smokers. For example, the poster above for Lucky Strike advertises aviation pioneer Amelia Earhart, who had never smoked in her life. But that’s never been a hindrance for advertising campaigns)

By the way, Lucky Strike is the author of another manipulation which became a classic nowadays and not only in tobacco product promotion. Already in the 20-s there was a practice to study and analyze the market and the results showed that the green pack of Lucky Strike was liked by the female smokers less than the manufacturer would have liked. Here it is – “delicate mental organization”, the ladies preferred cigarettes in packs of lighter and more neutral colors.

Yes, Lucky Strike still “went white” in the end, but in the 20’s the manufacturer of the brand decided not to “repaint” the pack, but… And to make green a fashionable color for women! So the company sponsored such a regular event as the Green Ball for a long time. It was a social event held in the halls of the fashionable Waldorf-Astoria Hotel.

“Green Balls” was widely covered by the press, the regulars of the event was all the high society and the requirements for visitors was only one. No, you didn’t have to smoke a Lucky Strike cigarette all the time)) It was enough to have an emerald-colored outfit. And, yes, almost until the early 40’s it worked just fine, green became fashionable, if not elite. Not everyone could get to the Green Ball, but a pack of cigarettes was more affordable)

The popularity of the Green Ball is said to have provoked the freedom to smoke in the motion pictures as well. Clark Gable, Joan Crawford, Lauren Bacall…. The whole Hollywood world gradually smoked) By the way, to consider “smoking Hollywood” as a trend or freedom is not quite right. So only American Tobacco, over the years 1937 – 1938, invested $3 million in Hollywood. In the late 30’s it was a lot of money and it is very unlikely that the money was used to develop the film industry)

The outbreak of World War II corrected some of the markers of manipulation, but it did not weaken it in any way. As they say, war is mother to one and war to another. The theme of patriotism became the basis for advertising. Although what is the connection between patriotism and smoking Chesterfield? But the idea of “helping the nation” worked fine in difficult times. So to speak, by buying a pack of cigarettes everyone was making a contribution to the planting of peace by the U.S. Army. Simple, affordable, but not always true.

In the second half of the 20th century, tobacco companies did not treat women any less) But the manipulation became a little more sophisticated. For example, the appearance of the Super Slims format is an example of exclusively “women’s cigarettes. And it worked great too, just like almost any personalized advertising. It’s nice when a giant company cares specifically for you) At least the advertising was presented as such, and the contribution brought good profits.

Right now, the gender tie to cigarette formats is actively eroding, which is in line with the destruction of traditional values in the West. I would not be surprised if years later it turns out that the big tobacco companies also had a hand in the popularization of the “rainbow flag”)

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