Lucky Strike is a famous brand name of American cigarettes, often referred to as "Luckies". This trademark was first introduced by R.A. Patterson of Richmond, Virginia, in 1871 as a cut-plug chewing tobacco and later a cigarette. In 1905, the company was acquired by the American Tobacco Company, and Lucky Strike would later confirm to be its answer to R.J. Reynolds' Camel.
In 1917, the brand started by the slogan "It's Toasted" to tell consumers about the manufacturing method in which the tobacco is toasted rather than sun-dried. The message "L.S.M.F.T." or "Lucky Strike means fine tobacco" was introduced on the package in the same year.
In 1935, American Tobacco Company began to sponsor Your Hit Parade, featuring North Carolina tobacco auctioneer Speed Riggs. The radio show's countdown catapulted the brand's success and would remain popular for 25 years. The shows capitalized on the tobacco auction theme and each ended with the signature phrase "Sold, American." The company's advertising campaigns generally featured a theme that stressed the quality of the tobacco purchased at auction for use in making Lucky Strike cigarettes and claimed that the higher quality tobacco resulted in a cigarette with better flavor. American employed in a series of advertisements using Hollywood actors as endorsers of Lucky Strike, including testimonials from Douglas Fairbanks concerning the cigarette's flavor.
The brand's signature dark green pack was changed to white in 1942. In a famous advertising campaign that used the slogan "Lucky Strike Green has gone to war", the company claimed the change was made because the copper used in the green color was needed for World War II. American Tobacco actually used chromium to produce the green ink, and copper to produce the gold-colored trim. A limited supply of each was available, and substitute materials made the package look drab. However, the truth of the matter was that the white package was introduced to update the label and to increase the appeal of the package among female smokers; market studies showed that the green package was not found attractive to women smokers who had become an important consumer of tobacco products. The war effort became a convenient way to make the product more viable while appearing as devoted at the same time.
In the 1960's, filtered styles were launched in addition to a mentholated version called "Lucky Strike Green". This time "Green" was referring to menthol and not to the overall package color. In late 2006 both the Full Flavored and Light filtered varieties of Lucky Strike cigarettes were discontinued in North America. Nevertheless, Lucky Strike will go on to have marketing and distribution support in territories controlled by British American Tobacco as a global drive brand. In addition, R.J. Reynolds continues to market the original, non-filter Lucky Strikes in the United States. Lucky Strikes currently have a small but very loyal base of smokers. In 2007 a new packaging of Lucky Strikes was released, with a 2 way opening which split 7 cigarettes from the rest.
The cigarette brand is referenced in many modern games, anime, songs, books and film. Such as in the Metal Gear series where they are said to be the games protagonist, Solid Snake's , brand of choice. Lucky Strike 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 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 were the cigarette of choice of Rep. Detective Steele in the Blade Runner video game. 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.