Posts tagged with "cigarettes"



06. June 2022
A kerosene lamp branded by Lockwood Bros, Pampa, Sheffield and Shanghai Rex & Co (公发英行 - "Kung-Fah" ). From the MOFBA collection.
22. May 2022
The brand by British manufacturer W.D. & H.O. Wills was one of the first machine-made Western cigarettes introduced to the Chinese market in the late 20th century. When British American Tobacco (BAT) was formed in 1902 it took over all the assets and brand rights for China from Wills and would turn Ruby Queen into one of the most recognized and successful tobacco brands in the first Republic of China. At one point in the 1920s Ruby Queen would even become the second most popular cigarette...
11. April 2022
Cycle brand cigarettes Chinese "beautiful girl" advertising poster. From the MOFBA collection
The Cycle brand was created in the early 1900s during the days of the American Bicycle Boom - a no-brainer for Big Tobacco to associate itself with the corresponding health benefits. In China Cycle was distributed by Enterprise Tobacco Co, Ltd. (和泰烟有限公司), part of the British American Tobacco (BAT) cigarette behemoth. The Chinese name is a direct translation using the now old-fashioned term 自由车, which translates to any sort of bike but comes with a nice spin as the literal...
04. April 2022
The mysterious toasted (烤) symbol. From the MOFBA collection
"Sometime ago a foreign company, started a vast million-dollar campaign to boost its brand into the Chinese market. For months there appeared not only in all papers but also in Chinese general storekeepers, restaurants, theatres, and public amusement grounds large advertisements depicting a ponderous Chinese character (烤) with a circle encircling it. There was no effort to explain that lone character (烤), which stood for "toasted", and led one to wonder whether it was meant for toasted pork...
03. March 2022
414 Cigarettes Chinese advertising poster with Western pin-up girl, 1947. From the MOFBA collection
In Chinese culture certain numbers such as 6 or 8 are widely believed to be auspicious or lucky while others are considered unlucky. The pronunciation of the number 4 in Mandarin for example is similar to the word for death and thus the number is considered unlucky and avoided when and wherever possible. The unluckiest number of all however is 14, which sounds similar to “going to die” or “you will die”. The belief in numerology traditionally is so deeply engrained that even today many...
22. November 2021
Kissy kissy... newspaper ad for Three Cats cigarettes. The brand created by Yuen Hwa Tobacco was a knock-off of British premium cigarette brand Craven "A" who's design looked identical, except that it only featured a single black cat on the logo. Because of that it was commonly referred to by Chinese consumers as "black cat brand" cigarettes. More on Craven "A" in our previous post.
14. November 2021
John Player & Sons, known simply as Player's, was a tobacco and cigarette manufacturer founded in Nottingham, England in 1877. In 1901, the company merged with other companies to form The Imperial Tobacco Company. The largest constituent of Imperial Tobacco was W. D. & H. O. Wills (producer of the famous Pirate Cigarettes) but Player's retained its own identity with cigarette brands such as Navy Cut or Clipper. Then in 1902, Imperial Tobacco Company and the United States' American...
25. October 2021
"Wise men all choose to smoke Pirate cigarettes". They apparently are also awesome at basketball... 1930s ad poster from British American Tobacco (BAT) brand Pirate cigarettes.
13. September 2021
Presumably early 1920s as the eventual (and extremely popular!) Chinese brand name 老刀牌is not yet used, the key visuals cannon although is already trivialized. Read the brands back story and evolution here.
24. August 2021
Pirate by British tobacco producer W.D. & H.O. Wills (later exclusively distributed by British American Tobacco), was one of the earliest Western cigarette brands to enter China in 1891. It was also one the most, if not the most well known foreign tobacco brands. Caricature Circles was a short live cartoon magazine published by Shanghai Cartoon Construction Publishing House under Wang Dunqing, as Editor-in-Chief The above cartoon is from the first edition. Only a total of 8 issues was ever...

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