Ad Agencies Helped Make Smoking Cool, Until They Didn’t

Before Australia adopted some of the strictest smoking regulations in the world, advertising cigarettes was big business.

Ad agencies have long sought the clients with the biggest budgets — and from the 50s to the 70s, the clients with the biggest budgets were selling tobacco.

They set out, and succeeded, in convincing Australians that smoking was a suave, sexy and sophisticated thing to do.

Slim cigarettes were tailored for “the feminine hand”. Craven was “the clean cigarette that’s kind to your throat”, and Benson and Hedges was for “when only the best would do”.

But one campaign was so successful that it backfired — prompting the backlash that ultimately saw Australia ban tobacco advertising altogether.

Ad agencies helped make smoking cool, until they didn't

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