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ADVERTISING & MARKETING | FROM THE ARCHIVES: A Look
Back at Classic Ad Campaigns

Just a Little Bit Longer

September 25, 1997|DENISE GELLENE

In late-1960s television ads for Philip Morris Cos., luckless smokers adjust to the length of Benson & Hedges 100s. A studio musician smashes his cigarette between his cymbals, and a balloon vendor accidentally pops a balloon with the cigarette dangling from his mouth. The action moves to the beat of a catchy bossa nova tune that later became a top 40 hit, "The Disadvantages of You."

The spot was one in a series of humorous TV commercials from the New York agency Wells Rich Greene about the supposed disadvantages of Benson & Hedges 100s. Related ads dramatized how long it took smokers to finish a cigarette that gave them "three puffs, four puffs, maybe even five puffs" more. "If you light up after breakfast," said a voice-over in one ad, "try to get to work on time."

Cigarette advertising was banned from the airwaves in 1971, and today billboards for Benson & Hedges, from Chicago-based Leo Burnett Co., take a different approach, showing anthropomorphic cigarettes sitting on a couch or resting in a hammock.

But these and other outdoor cigarette ads may soon disappear as a result of legislative and legal pressure on the tobacco industry.

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