As long as we’re talking about improbable brand extensions across the beverage/tobacco brand barrier, consider this one: Coca-Cola Cigarettes.
In the 1950s Cy Coben and Charles Grean wrote a song entitled The Billboard Song, in which a number of improbable products were seen on the overlapping layers of a storm-tattered billboard. Coca-Cola Cigarettes was the the first product that the song mentioned…
As I was walking down the street one dark and dreary day,
I came upon a billboard, and much to my dismay,
The sign was torn and tattered from a storm the night before.
The wind and rain had done its job and this is what I saw:
Smoke Coca-Cola Cigarettes,
Chew Wrigley’s Spearmint Beer…
The song was recorded by Homer and Jethro in 1952:
The thing is…
Coca-Cola Cigarettes were given serious consideration—not by the Coca-cola Company, but by Brown & Williamson Tobacco in a 1972 internal memo.
In 1998 this idea was brought up in congressional hearings debating the “National Tobacco Policy and Youth Smoking Reduction Act.”
(We quote the Congressional Record, after the fold…)
“…internal industry documents indicate that tobacco companies have long known that tobacco use leads to addiction, serious illness, and death. Yet, they nevertheless continue to pursue children, to target teens through ads and promotional campaigns, and have even gone so far as to consider marketing Coca-Cola-flavored cigarettes.
–Sen. Susan Collins, May 20, 1998
from the Proceedings and Debates of the 105th Congress, Second Session
(Of course, electronic cigarettes are another matter…)