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Which brands were the most popular? Lucky Strike is most commonly smoked in Mad Men since Sterling Cooper has an account with them. Some of the most popular brands in the 1950s and 1960s included Lucky Strike, Marlboro, Camel, Pall Mall, Parliament, Salem, Newport, Winston, Kent, Viceroy, Kool and more. Cigarettes advertisements depicted them as part of American life and played on the aspects of being a man or a sophisticated woman, having fun, and relaxing. Just as Don may be smoking because he’s a man, Betty may be smoking because she's stressed, and Peggy may be smoking to fit in. Cigarette brands used celebrity and athlete endorsements, cartoon characters, politicians, children, and even medical professionals to sell their product. In the episode, “Smoke Gets In Your Eyes,” Don knows that even though a magazine called Reader’s Digest claims that cigarettes are dangerous, people would still buy them; Sterling Cooper just can’t advertise physicians claiming they are safe anymore.
Here is an advertisement for Camel cigarettes preposterously trying to make you feel better about smoking since your doctor loves it too.
This is an advertisement for Marlboro in the 1960s, hinting that smoking Marlboro cigarettes will make you feel like the rugged man that you want to be.
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Alas, since the word spread about cigarettes being dangerous and the efforts began in the 1970s, the government has heavily regulated cigarette advertisements, added warnings and images to packaging, and banned or limited the places you are allowed to smoke. Back in the “Mad Men” days, however, smoking was not even given a second thought. Light another one, Mr. Draper. It’s toasted.