Is this the Most Outrageous Cigarette Ad Ever? Scroll Down to See in What Publication We Found It.

May 8, 2015  •  Post A Comment


We found this ad in the Aug. 12, 1950 issue of The New Yorker.


  1. Good to know that we have evolved from this type of advertising!

  2. Not so shocking. The outrageous ones have doctors in white uniforms lighting up and recommending certain cigs because they are mild and soothing.

  3. Not sure why the publication is such a surprise. This was commonplace at the time. Like the doctor recommended cigarettes Micheal mentioned, Kent marketed the health benefits of cigarette filters that contained asbestos.

  4. AS Jsm remarked, so what? This was the zeitgeist of the era. And in fact as Michael implies, these were often NOT actors but real doctors (getting compensated for sure but still real physicians).

    • Yes, we very much remember the ads with doctors endorsing smoking. I think what gave us pause with this ad is that we hadn’t remembered babies actually being used in ads advocating smoking…

      Chuck Ross
  5. It seems that some of readers are missing the point. It was common place for “adults” to smoke… without the dangers and warnings of today. It was ok for doctors, since it probably relieved the everyday stress of hearing gloom and doom health problems. Especially since they probably did not know many correct healing answers… proof is in those ads spoken of. But I’m thinking that the Topic “Outrageous” gives reference to perhaps the abuse of a tiny tiny minor in the wake of making a buck. Being a former Model, I found that Children have always been a “Sure Lure” for boosting sales. This ad campaign creator, I’d say, probably was a Single Male [ 50’s hardly used Women in positions of decision making- another flaw, in my opinion… but it was the signs of the tymes], also a Woman would have questioned the Board of mostly males, and gotten overruled. I say single, because the 50’s was Family Oriented, and GOD knows if a dad had a say so… but money talks. The ad designer probably thought the higher ups would promote him for such an ingenious idea- stupid or not. They were about the buck. There were no child abuse stigma during this tyme, either. But the modern day article is applying todays issues to an era gone by. I agree with them, as most of you do, I assume. It surely takes away from the sweet Gerber persona, seeing a pack of “Fags” under his face. He looks bewildered. Second thought is the ad designer took a picture of his kid, and made profit with both designing the ad, and using his kid as the model. Money… Money… Money. Either way it is despicable. The baby’s mom saw no harm, I’m sure. Women were “yes men” in a 1950’s household. However my question is- did the ad sell more baby products, like the TacoBell Chiwauwa did. The Bell fired that advertising team, because sales in the Bell, didn’t do as well… on the last campaign- or did the dog get hit by a car, on set- oh well. However, more dogs were sold than profits were made for tacos. I think the problem was not with the entertaining dog, but the deceptive size of the sandwich on Television, being a disappointment when order for the price. That’s only my opinion. Byl [not Bile] Butler

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