BrandLucky Strike

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History

Lucky Strike is rich in heritage and one of the world’s best-known brands. It was introduced in 1871 as a cut-plug chewing tobacco by the R. A. Patterson Tobacco Company of Richmond, Virginia, U.S.A.. Patterson Tobacco was acquired by the American Tobacco Company in 1905, which introduced Lucky Strike as a regular-sized (70 mm), non-filtered, American blend cigarette in 1916 in an attempt to compete with the success of R. J. Reynolds’ Camel brand. Its distinctive red-on-green bullseye design was created by famous industrial designer Raymond Loewy, the man who also designed the Campbell’s Soup label, as well as the logos for Exxon Oil, Shell Oil, and Coca-Cola. The Lucky Strike logo would later become a prominent fixture in pop-era artist Ray Johnson's collages.

In 1917, the brand started using the slogan "It's Toasted", meant to inform consumers about the manufacturing method in which the tobacco is toasted rather than sun-dried, giving Luckies a unique and distinctive flavour. The message "L.S./M.F.T." ("Lucky Strike means fine tobacco") was introduced on the package in the same year.

The brand's signature dark green pack was changed to white in 1942. In a famous advertising campaign that bore the slogan "Lucky Strike Green has gone to war", the company claimed the change was made because the copper used in the green color was needed for World War II. American Tobacco actually used chromium to produce the green ink, and copper to produce the gold-colored trim. A limited supply of each was available, and substitute materials made the package look drab. Many argue that the white package was introduced not to help the war effort but to lower costs and to increase the appeal of packaging among female smokers.

Lucky Strikes were popular back in the day; the position of best-selling cigarette in the United States see-sawed between Luckies and Camels from the 1920s through the mid-1950s, when American Tobacco’s Pall Mall took second spot. American Tobacco began manufacturing Luckies in filter versions in the late 1960s, though they didn’t have staying power. In 1978, the export rights to Luckies were sold to Brown & Williamson Tobacco, which would end up buying the American Tobacco Company outright in 1994.

In 1996, Brown & Williamson relaunched Lucky Strikes in full flavor and light styles, beginning in San Francisco, and nationwide in 1999. These were discontinued in late 2006. Brown & Williamson was purchased by R. J. Reynolds Tobacco in 2004, forming Reynolds American Tobacco, which still makes Lucky Strikes Non-Filter today. Luckies are considered to be one of the world’s finest cigarettes and have a loyal and faithful following; they also are a topic of an urban legend that was that one of every twenty in a pack was actually a marijuana joint (not true, of course).

While Lucky Strikes have not retained their popularity in their original market, they are still sold and manufactured throughout the world, including Argentina, Belgium, Brazil, Chile, Finland, France, Germany, Honduras, Italy, Japan, South Korea, Spain, Thailand, and the United Kingdom.

In Canada, Lucky Strike Plain was manufactured by Imperial Tobacco Canada until the 1970s.

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