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Old Gold Cigarettes

Updated on December 7, 2018

Old Gold Cigarettes

The image above is from an ad done in the 1920s by a popular cigarette company called Old Gold. This advertisement is a perfect example of how many big tobacco companies used different methods of ads to try and get people to use their product.

About Old Gold

The Old Gold cigarette company was introduced in 1926 and was heavily aimed towards selling to the younger generations. According to Wikipedia, their first advertisements consisted of beautiful flappers and the popular slogan, “Not a cough in a carload”. In the twenties, they had about 7% of the cigarette industry, so they were a well-known brand. As the years passed, their slogan changed to “Something new has been added,” and their advertisements included women decorated in Old Gold cigarette boxes dancing to their jingle. In 1970, congress passed a law restricting tobacco companies from airing ads on television and the radio, which ended up taking a large toll on the company. The company was bought and sold to several different corporations over the years, and it slowly started to become smaller and smaller.

Babe Ruth

The first thing that catches the eye when looking at this ad, is the baseball legend Babe Ruth. Using Babe Ruth for this advertisement was an incredibly smart move on their part for several reasons. First off, everyone either knows or has heard about him, especially back in the 1920s, when the ad was in use. He was a star that transcended the sport of baseball. During this time, it was very common for baseball players to smoke and use other tobacco products while in the dugout, so the fact that Babe Ruth endorsed their product was a huge get for the company. Simply put, a celebrity such as Ruth on the front of their ad makes the company seem more credible.

Slogan of Choice

The slogan that the company chose also says a lot about their target audience. Old Gold is appealing more towards people new to smoking or current smokers looking for a smoother cigarette. “Not a cough in a carload” may attract new smokers because they claim that their cigarette is much easier on the throat and lungs. By using that technique, they are targeting people that were on the fence about smoking because of the way traditional cigarettes felt. This made it only logical for new smokers to begin with the best product. In the same way, they could be convincing people to switch over to their cigarette because they weren’t happy with how rough other cigarettes were. By using that slogan, Old Gold can appeal to an audience that most cigarette companies aren’t able to.

His Endorsement

Old Gold did not just stop at displaying Babe Ruth on their advertisement, they went as far as to show him smoking one of their cigarettes and even commenting on them. The small picture of him taking the “blind cigarette test” shows people that he picked Old Gold’s cigarette most often due to the flavor. Doing this shows the ethos appeal even more than displaying him on the ad because now he is endorsing the cigarette personally. This is done to make people relate to Babe Ruth as they smoke the Old Gold brand of cigarettes. The advertisement also cleverly shows Babe Ruth’s signature under his quote, proving that he did say that, and he does endorse their cigarette. Without the signature, people may be more hesitant to believe that he did in fact take the test and say those things. At this time, a signature from Babe Ruth was a huge deal because of his celebrity status. By using Babe Ruth and the quote from him, it gives Old Gold an enormous amount of credibility that increases their chances of selling more cigarettes.


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