JF Ptak Science Books Post 1640
What is it about the pinky ring that makes you want to smoke? And makes you want to smoke the cigarette in the pinky-hand's counterpart?
The psychology of advertising in cigarette ads in the 1940's or thereabouts is a strange thing to me. The secondary items in the ads--the stuff there besides the cigarette--are sometimes baffling and occasionally troubling, disquieting, unusual things sent to capture the attention once the cigarette has been removed from the field of attention. I'm pretty sure why those things are there--because of their suggestive natures and their attempt to relate directly with cigarette smoking--but I'm not aure how that connection between the object and the suggestion (of power, or control, or social beauty, or sex and so on) takes place. The meaning and connection can be forced out with a little muscle, but that wasn't supposed to be so hard for the viewing public back there eight decades ago. The social contrivance of the connection seems to have slipped over time into a smoky nothingness, and I think that it would be interesting to try and restore it, if only for the sake of understanding that lost part of advertising's quadratic equation.
And so on to a few examples from the advertising world, all of the images coming from the great cigarette advertising archive at Stanford University (here). Removing the cigarettes as a main focus of attention in the following ads leaves us with pinky rings, puffy man-ladies, cigarette holders, close touching, electronics, stub-handed stubby cigarettes, wedding rings and suggestive "product placement".
The vast smokey elegances of pinky ring (from above):
The smokey, puffy man-lady ("so round, so firm, so fully packed"):
Phil Harris just looks entirely and completely out of place, and not comfortable, though perhaps he just wanted to "feel pretty" getting a light from man-handed Alice Fayew?
Marlene. I'm so sorry.
Aqua stars with friendly touch:
The smokey miracle of electronics:
Being produced by an electronic machine necessarily implies a superiority, at least it did so in the 1950's when this ad appeared. (I wrote about the miracle in an earlier post, here.)
Mysteries of the smoky stub fingers wrapped around a stubby cigarette:
The smoky mysteries of being a cigarette bride (rewarding yourself of a life choice with a cigarette, so special on even special occasions), the package of cigarettes sealing the matrimonial compact, holding newly-married hands together through the miracle of cancerous smoke:
Failed modesty and suggestiveness--product placement:
The smoky mysteries of scholarship, wherein the idea of smart/educated comes into contact with cigarettes:
Viceroy cigarettes thrust themselves into intelligence by associating themselves with the smoking scholar, its smoking trail winding its way across the dictionary. (The "thinking man's" work that I see in the typewriter is called "The Patriot", and he's on page 65.) Actually they're telling the reader that although the smoke is for the smoker, it is delivered to them via a thinking man's filter, which makes it smart for you to enjoy this pleasurable cigarette. (Viceroy had a series of these ads, using this same basic template but replacing teh face adn the background, altering them bit, and using an astronomer, an atronaut, a reporter, a chemist, an electrical engineer, and some others.)
Next installment on the empty promise of cigarettes: passing the generational torch, smokers old to smokers young.