October 6th, 2008
When Doctors, and Even Santa, Endorsed Tobacco
By Stuart Elliot
The New York Times
People who remember when tobacco advertising was a prominent part of the media landscape — and others who recall what they learned in Marketing 101 — probably recollect that actors like Barbara Stanwyck and athletes like Mickey Mantle routinely endorsed cigarettes. But how about doctors and other medical professionals, proclaiming the merits of various cigarette brands? Or politicians? What about cartoon characters in cigarette ads? Or children? Babies? Even Santa Claus?
Those images — some flabbergasting, even disturbing — were also used by Madison Avenue to peddle tobacco products. An exhibit that opens on Tuesday in New York presents cigarette ads from the 1920s through the early 1950s in an effort to demonstrate what has changed since then — and what may not have.