The Ad Machine in Action:
Cigarettes and Art in Advertising


This project began with one simple artifact, a cigarette tag (left). Produced between 1910 and 1920, the tag was a collectible found in cigarette packages, revealing an early use of marketing paraphernalia in product advertising. Drawn by a well-known comic artist, the tag's cartoon also reveals advertisers' desire to link an image with their product, securing it a place in popular culture. Producers issued a series of over 250 tags, hoping the collectibles would boost sales. As shown in this site, the cigarette tag demonstrates the early roots of modern advertising campaigns with its use of cartoon imagery and celebrity. By the 1920s, advertisers had already learned to link art or an artist with a product. "The Ad Machine in Action" will focus on this connection in two areas: art in advertising, and how it played out in cigarette advertising campaigns.

At left, the cigarette tag features Rube Goldberg's work with the slogan, "Tell it to Sweeny".

At right, the back of the cigarette tag.

Advertising and the Artist
Explores the connection between art and advertising, focusing on comics in advertising and how advertisers view art in their work. This page also includes information on the art and life of Rube Goldberg, the artist of the cigarette tag, and his contribution to the world of advertising slogans.

Cigarette Advertising
This site includes image galleries of old and new methods of cigarette advertising, and images that mark the political backlash to cigarette advertising. The site also includes, a portrait of the modern cigarette advertisement: Is there life after Joe Camel?