Tobacco Bazar: Bizarrest Tobacco Ads


Ads can say a lot. Oftentimes telling us more than just the products they endorse, ads speak to the people, times, and settings in which they’re created. But, even so, as they say, “a picture is worth a thousand words.” So, perhaps it’s only wise to keep the adage in mind as you scroll through this list of visual oddities–some of the strangest, funniest, and most head-shake-inducing ads to surface in the course of some thirteen-or-more decades in tobacco history.

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circa 1800
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circa 1800
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circa 1880

Tobacco ads from the 1800’s sure do seem to endorse with black characters exceedingly frequent, which, either is extremely strange or, maybe not so much, but considering though, that so many of these ads had predated the abolishment of slavery, it does seem at least just a little bit weird–even more than just a little bit weird–at least in my opinion.

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circa 1890-1900

Depending on whom you ask, gay today is more often meant to mean lame, not necessarily homosexual, but in the 1890’s, though, I’d guess that gay had also meant flamboyant. Not that I would know that for certain, but the “Gay Boy” in that advert, though, sure does look flamboyant–and by true definition at that with his cane, gloves, three piece suit, corsage, and English Bowler.

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circa 1900-1910

Vaudeville was once a pretty big deal–so I’ve heard.

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circa 1910-1920
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circa 1920-1930

Santa’s marketability was just taking off…

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circa 1930-1940

Huge decade in American literature. Huge. No doubt about that.

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circa 1940-1950
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circa 1940-1950

Interesting ad–first of the kind I’ve ever seen.

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circa 1950-1960

Some Kirk Douglas doing some celebrity endorsement action…

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circa 1960-1970

Two words: spaghetti western. Yeah, think about that a bit more if it doesn’t register right away. I think I’m on to something…

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circa 1970-1980

Oh, that social pressure…

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circa 1980-190

Camel’s answer to Marb Man: Indiana Chainsmokin’ Jones, of course.

He lasted for more than one full decade I believe…

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circa 1980-1990

ICJ once again, just for good measure.

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circa 1990-2000

Camel Joe totally owned the scene in the 1990’s.

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circa 2000

The dusk of the smoke ads. Camel ruled it once again–though then through way of vintage flair.

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circa 2000

Yup, vintage flair–well, ‘cept for those sunglasses. Oakley much, yo.

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circa 2000

Oh, yeah, that’s when anti-smoke had got all clever and shit.

click here to see many more: vintage cigarette and tobacco ads

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