2008-03-05

Lucky Strike Cigarettes in the Media


A Lucky Strike box can be seen in the opening credits of the Cowboy Bebop movie.

In the early 1960s, Lucky Strike's television commercials featured the slogan "Lucky Strike separates the men from the boys...but not from the girls" set to music. When Luckies with filters were introduced in the mid-1960s, print and TV ads featured the singing slogan "Show me a filter cigarette that delivers the taste, and I'll eat my hat!" Print ads showed smokers wearing hats from which a "bite" was supposedly taken, whereas TV commercials broke away from the smoker who issued that challenge, then came back to show the same smoker wearing a hat with a "bite" out of it.

The Lucky Strike logo was created by famous industrial designer Raymond Loewy, who also created the logos for Exxon, Shell, AT&T and Coca Cola. The logo later became a prominent fixture in Pop-era artist Ray Johnson's collages.

Lucky Strike Cigarettes was the sponsor of Jack Benny's radio and television programs in the 1940s and 1950s on CBS. Among its popular advertising slogans on the show, as read by announcer Don Wilson, were "LSMFT: Lucky Strike means fine tobacco!" and "Be happy go lucky, be happy, smoke Lucky Strike!" Lucky Strike Cigarettes was also the major sponsor of the BAR Honda team (partly owned by British American Tobacco current owners of the brand) as well as Honda Racing F1 during their maiden year in Formula One before BAT decided to pull out of F1 altogether in the face of increasing anti-tobacco advertising legislation.

The cigarette brand is referenced in many modern games, anime, songs, books and film. Lucky Strike Cigarettes is patronized in the anime Cowboy Bebop, where character Faye Valentine is often seen with one in her mouth. In Eureka Seven, Stoner is seen smoking a pack similar to Lucky Strike Cigarettes in episode 14. The logo also makes prominent background appearances in that show. In the Tom Waits song "Kentucky Avenue", the first-person speaker references his or her "half pack of Lucky Strikes". Lucky Strikes Cigarettes were the cigarette of choice of Rep. Detective Steele in the Blade Runner video game, as well as in the stealth-based video games Metal Gear and Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake; Solid Snake's favorite brand of cigarettes are Luckies. In the manga GTO, Professor Onizuka is seen smoking Lucky Strikes. Lucky Strikes can be seen sitting on a piano in a couple scenes in Ralph Bakshi's 1981 animated film American Pop

The fictional character Mike Hammer, as written by Mickey Spillane, smoked Lucky Strike through all of the Hammer novels. Lucky Strike Cigarettes were also featured in the Stephen King movie "Misery" where Paul Sheldon (as played by James Caan) would smoke one cigarette after writing a novel. They are widely smoked in the 2002 miniseries Band of Brothers and are mentioned in George Orwell's account of the Spanish Civil War, Homage to Catalonia.

One of the most famous TV smokers of the brand was Detective Sonny Crockett (Don Johnson) from hit 80's TV cop show Miami Vice. Throughout the show until the 3rd season, when increasing health consciousness on the part of the American public made smoking less than popular, Crockett heavily smoked unfiltered Luckies. A packet featured prominently in the story 'Calderone's Demise' when Crockett dropped his packet and it was handed back to him.

In the 1994 prison-drama The Shawshank Redemption, Lucky Strikes Cigarettes are used as prison-currency by Ellis Boyd "Red" Redding, to grease the wheels of the intra-prison contraband market.

In 2007 the Lucky Strike brand was featured as a subplot in the first episode of Mad Men, an American television drama about New York Madison Avenue advertising executives set in the early 1960s. An advertising executive struggles to come up with a new advertising campaign under the new stringent United States Federal Trade Commission (FTC) regulations about cigarette companies making health and safety claims about their tobacco products. He eventually comes up with the catch slogan "It's Toasted", the same slogan that was conceived in real life by Lucky Strike Cigarettes in 1917 but for purposes of dramatic license it is depicted as being created in 1960 to deflect consumer concerns about health issues.

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