“You’ve come a long way, baby”
“It started in 1968 – Phillip Morris launches the very first cigarette brand marketed specifically to women. The “You’ve come a long way, baby” slogan (created by the famous Leo Burnett Agency) instantly caught on, and the “Women’s Lib” theme perfectly tapped into the female consumer’s mindset. The ads featured an old-fashioned photograph of repressed women smokers behind a colorful, vibrant “New Woman” free of oppression, smoking proudly. Smoking Virginia Slims was freedom, it was liberation!”
The first time I was called baby I was sixteen, in the backseat of a car on a double date with my best friend. I loved it, then.
When this ad came out cigarettes were still a no-no but I grew up with my dad smoking three packs of Lucky Strikes every day. I didn’t think much of it at the time.
I married in 1966, and wasn’t called baby until two years ago. Funny how in the interim I never gave it a thought except to think I doubt any woman wanted to be called or treated like a baby.
To me the whole idea in 1968 was a rude concept. In my little world of being a busy wife and mother, I probably resented the freedom of those women pictured in the ads. Maybe not, I was so busy trying to be the perfect everything and not succeeding, who knows? I try not to look back and analyze my actions then.
I think today the pendulum, as it usually does, has possibly swung too far, starting with thinking smoking gave the appearance of a strong and independent woman was a good thing.
We know now that those images probably caused young women to start smoking, ending up with a disease in later life. Maybe not. Maybe I’m wrong. I hope so.