Saturday, December 1, 2007

when the flintstones smoked

Maybe my gravitating to a career in advertising had to do with early exposure to its impact on popular culture. In 1961, I was learning to read, thanks to the forbearance of Sister Elizabeth Ann who taught me and 92 others in a first grade classroom. Her arguing with, of all things, a dictionary, impressed us. A new Merriam-Webster had just come out and our teacher was in an uproar about it because it legitimized an ad slogan she criticized as grammatically incorrect: Winston Tastes Good Like A Cigarette Should. She wasn’t the only one who insisted the dictionary was wrong. The makers of Winston sponsored The Morning Show, but its host Walter Cronkite took a public stand against the slogan refusing to say the line as written, outsourcing the job to an announcer instead. (The original line had been Winston Tastes Good Like A Cigarette Ought To, which a team at William Esty convinced RJ Reynolds to change.) The makers of Winston also sponsored The Flintstones. Fred and Barney blithely extolled the virtues of smoking to children, stirring no public controversy until Pebbles was born in 1963 and Winston shifted their sponsorship to The Beverly Hillbillies.

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