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".