For those who think that carrying around branded personal effects is a recent cultural development, consider the promotional cigarette lighter. More popular when smoking was more popular, plenty of smokers apparently did not object to carrying a reminder of a product they liked. Or perhaps they just liked getting free stuff and accepted the advertising as part of the [free] package. This Reddi Wip lighter is from Roadside Picture’s Flickr Photostream. He says he got it on eBay for $20 and sold it for $150.
It certainly has its charms. Packaging whip cream in an aerosol can was a novel innovation at the time and people seem to love product names with cutely misspelled words. The miniature package must look pretty appealing, magnified in its little aquarium of lighter fluid.
I was going to leave it that, but then I got to wondering how many other package-related lighters were out there. (“Sigh”… see below.) The cigarette pack of course is an obvious one, but it was surprising how many products, unrelated to smoking, found their way onto cigarette lighters. Just goes to show how, at one time, it was a pretty safe bet that you could hand out promotional cigarette lighters and plenty of consumers had a use for them. (Think: Don Draper at Sterling Cooper)
All of these pictures above are from eBay. Since the auctions will soon be over anyway I’m not going to go crazy and link to them all. (If you want to own one of them—an eBay search awaits you!) The one comment that I’ll make is about the bottom row, 2nd from the left: “hair spray” seems an odd choice for a look-alike package/lighter, since hair spray is known to be so dangerously flammable.
(Some surprising new “packaging lighters“ after the fold…)
Beach Packaging Design