When a company decides to offer a new product today, advertising consultants, psychologists, packaging experts, market researchers, budget analysts and layer after layer of executives get into the act. Surveys are taken, statistics are gathered, books are read, and decades of experience are considered. Even the most amateur of marketers knows the golden rules of successful advertising involve focussing on health, beauty, family, and the good life with pictures of women, children, dogs and people having fun. Any advertiser that detours from that formulae does so at his own risk.

        But it wasn’t always that way. More than a century and a half ago there were no such rules or guidelines. There were no experts, no ad agencies, no pollsters.  In the 1840’s, when cigar merchandizers began selling cigars in consumer size packages they became advertising pioneers. Concepts we take for granted today... pictures of babies and dogs will outsell images of turnips and dead goats... didn’t exist. It was the cigar industry, almost single-handedly, that experimented with images and text and discovered the rules that everyone follows today.

        The cigar industry’s influence on advertising and packaging became huge because the level of experimentation exceeded that of any other product in history. Cigars were the only commercially retailed product made by a quarter million U.S. factories in which everyone in the chain between roller and smoker was involved in naming ccigars. Cigar factories created brands. Cigar brokers created brands. Cigar wholesalers created brands, Cigar retailers created brands. And, unlike ANY other product, cigar consumers, the smokers themselves, created brands. For a penny or two per 100, anyone could picture or say anything they wanted on a cigar box. Millions of people had ideas.

        Not all ideas were good.

Bad Brand Names

Hyman’s Cigar History Museum EXCLUSIVE 

Text & images © Tony Hyman, all rights reserved

Latest additions January 13, 2013

NCM Home            Label themes