Horses in Advertising: Historic Fail Edition


Here in Kentucky, we’re known for horses, but it’s also historically a tobacco-growing state. We have the distinction of being the state with the highest rate of tobacco use in the country (we’re number one!) But even here, I’m always surprised to see someone smoking a cigarette. Like, really? Do people still do that?

It wasn’t always that way, of course. In fact, you may have seen old timey ads where a brand of cigarettes touted that it was the most recommended by doctors, or other dubious claims. But this vintage piece of advertising from 1930 takes the cake. Feast your eyes on this.


Wow. Okay. Let’s break this one down.

First off, I’m guessing that larger woman on the left is the shadow of “coming events” alluded to over on the right. She is your future, young lady, if you continue to overindulge the way you do, says Lucky Strike. And you know what that means? No more first-place rosettes for you, because pretty curves win.

Pretty curves win? Is this a horse show or a beauty contest? Or do cigarettes somehow make your horse have pretty curves?

Okay, Lucky Strike, you’ve got my attention. How do I make myself look like that winning rider on the right and not that blerch on the left?

“…when tempted to do yourself too well, if you will ‘Reach for a Lucky instead’ you will thus avoid over-indulgence in things that cause excess weight, and by avoiding over-indulgence, maintain a modern, graceful form.”

In other words, when you want a cookie, fight the urge by smoking a cigarette. You know, for your health. They’ve even got those 20,679 doctors saying that this brand of cigarette is less irritating to your throat. (Less irritating than what? Gargling with lava? They don’t specify.)

I’d like to say that false claims about a product, superficiality, and a bit of fat-shaming are relics of the past in advertising, but of course they’re not. On the other hand, at least we now know that cigarettes are terrible not only for the people who smoke them, but the people and horses who are subjected to the secondhand smoke. And we know to wear helmets (and get up in two-point) when we jump.

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