“Marlboro babies,” a found object collage by Jono Tosch, the poet, “food writer” and artist who just posted the final post to his 5 year old “anti food blog food blog” Oil Changes on Monday.
Babies, of course, were a big part of Marlboro’s early marketing.
This 1955 ad infantilizes the Marlboro flip top box by putting it in a baby stroller.
…depictions of babies in cigarette ads reinforced the respectability of smoking as a part of normal family life, a perception often promulgated by the tobacco industry. Further, the images of youngsters tended to send a reassuring message to consumers about the healthfulness of the product. Babies, especially, represent purity, vibrancy, and life — concepts which can be dangerous when tied to tobacco products. Finally, these depictions of infants were an obvious ploy to attract females to smoking as part of the industry’s campaign to expand the pool of women smokers.
(Another, earlier Marlboro baby, after the fold…)
In this 1951 ad, mothers are asked by a baby: “Can you afford not to smoke?”
This was prior to Frank Gianninoto’s more masculine, geometric rebranding, when Marlboro still offered red “beauty tipped” filters.
For more about Marlboro branding, see: Flip-Top Box: “Interesting and Practical” and Hinge-Lid, Hard-Pack, Flip-Top Box. For more artwork with Marlboro cigarette packs, see: Jac Leirner’s Lung and John Norwood’s Cigarette Box Pyramids.