Originally manufactured in 1871 by the tobacconist R.A. Patterson, who was based in Virginia, the Lucky Strike brand was at first solely sold as a chewing tobacco variation. However, later it was developed as a normal cigarette and started gaining popularity. In 1905 the American Tobacco Company bought the R.A. Patterson company and went on to further develop Lucky Strike as a cigarettes brand to directly compete with the Camel brand of rival company R. J. Reynolds.
The main strongpoint of the Lucky Strike cigarettes that made them stand out from the rest was their distinctive flavour and aroma, which was the result of the different method of drying the tobacco during the production procedure. Unlike other brands, the tobacco used in Lucky Strikes was actually toasted, giving rise to the brand’s most famous slogan; “It’s toasted.”
A true pioneer when it comes to the promotion and marketing techniques it employed, Lucky Strike did not however avoid controversy. One example was the hugely successful slogan “Reach for a Lucky instead of a sweet.” This was part of the campaign to attract women smokers and it was actually promoting the smoking of Lucky Strikes as a weight loss method! This questionable campaign was so successful that in its first year alone sales were up by a massive 300%. In real numbers and in just a few years time Lucky Strike was selling over 40 billion cigarettes per year, compared to its original 14 billion.
To consolidate and retain its position as a leader in the industry, the Lucky Strike brand used highly advanced marketing techniques, ranging from becoming associates with hit radio programmes to getting the name of the brand included in musical band names, such as for example the “B.A. Rolfe and his Lucky Strike orchestra.”
Other marketing methods employed included the hiring of famous Hollywood stars praising the superior quality of the brand to millions of listeners, as well as sponsoring the comedy radio and TV show originally known as The Jack Benny Show, which due to the sponsorship it received, came to be known as the Lucky Strike TV program.
Originally the brand’s pack was in dark green colour and its initial packaging was manufactured using chromium and copper. These materials became scarce during the Second World War and this was partly the reason why in 1942 it was decided to proceed with the re-branding of Lucky Strikes. Replacing the green packet with the now iconic white and red pack was done under the slogan “Lucky Strike green has gone to war.” However, many claim that the real reason behind the re-branding was to make the brand more attractive to women smokers who were back then making up an increasing portion of the smokers’ community demographics. The new pack was designed by Raymond Loewy who reportedly received the huge sum of $50,000 for doing so and for producing a simple yet successful logo re-design, which aided the brand to become more attractive.