Lucky Strike

A ‘stunner’ of a friend of mine smokes cigarettes and mostly Marlboro Lights very very often, and in spite of her smoking habit manages to look really good doing it. How this features in my modest blog on product placement? It has to do with my new found fascination for a certain brand of cigarette, Lucky Strike; which this hot friend of mine worships. She claims it relieves ‘tensions and worries’.

I have fallen in love with Mad Men ; the AMC series  all over again, and also with a cigarette-smoking Bettie Francis aka January Jones(pictured: Harper’s Bazaar) rumoredly cast as Emma Frost in the new X-Men: First Class movie and current sex symbol Joan Holloway aka Christina Hendricks (also a smoker on the show) . These delectable women are pawns in a saga centered around a vicious, malevolent and chauvinistic and fictitious advertising agency called Sterling Cooper and frequently have to fling their legs up in the air for their dashing, also cigarette smoking and alcohol-at-work indulgent husbands and bosses. The clearly-pleasantly-debauched Mad Men is heavily censored when beamed on the public-free-to-air MBC4 television channel back home in the Middle East; the major cuts making for unfunny and confusing viewing . Now after 3 years since the show began (it is in it’s 4th season), I more than make do through uncut broadcasts thanks to the kind people at BBC iPlayer and Cast TV. The show strikes a chord with me due to the frequent public relations and advertising references, a world that I have become part of.

So my point to bring up Mad Men and my beautiful friend and Christina Hendricks and Lucky Strike?

Mad Men blatantly mentions the brand over and over again : at least through name-dropping. The agency Sterling Cooper apparently has a Lucky Strike advertising account. The show is rated TV-14 and still has its characters using vice-brands left, right and centre. The artists rumoredly smoke nicotine-free cigarettes. But is it helping any cause? I wonder. Not to mention that the series is shockingly racist( frequent anti-Semitic humor and against people of color) and sexist and sexual for a talking-thinking adult, let alone the 15 years-of-age upwards who are ‘allowed’ to watch the show. The show is but merely depicting an era in time, when all these practices were the norm.

But then again, aren’t there FCC guidelines on such things? I feel that even though the series is the ‘next best thing after the Sopranos on TV’, it should be targeted at a more mature audience. Is it a clever way to bypass the guidelines, this namedropping?

And since it says ‘fashion’ on my website title, I gotta admit that the clothes, suits and smart shoes, primary protagonist Don Draper played by the suave Jon Hamm and the rest of the rather extensive cast wear are quite fancy. The art department deserves a standing ovation. The brands such as Honda, Jack Daniels, and Kodak etc that have been featured in some of the episodes have been brought to their original form; to the art deco swinging 50s and 60s era form. The level of dedication and near perfect originality are commendable.

 

Product placement or not? Lucky Strike is puffing away in my mind, thanks to Dick Whitman aka Don Draper aka Jon Hamm and my sexy friend with the smoking habit.

And apologies for the more than a month long vacation from my blog, I had a dissertation to finish. 🙂

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