Cigarette Pack Color
Serves In War
"Lucky Strike Green Has Gone To War."
Lincoln, Me. (DG)---
1942, smokers of Lucky Strike Cigarettes noticed a drastic change
to the Lucky Strike packs. Instead of the usual dark green and
gold, the packs were white with red trim. On the bottom of the new packs was
a curious abbreviation, "L.S./M.F.T." The reason for the change was
heard on the radio commercials for Lucky Strike.
Like with many other products during World
War II, the Lucky Strike radio commercials had a patriotic
theme. The radio listeners heard the announcer say, "Lucky Strike
Green Has Gone To War." What he meant, the green dye used for the packaging
of the Lucky Strike packs would be used for the war effort. The phrase was heard frequently on all programs Lucky Strike
sponsored at that time. Unfortunately, it also stirred up a hornetís nest
with one program.
When Lucky Strike sponsored
INFORMATION PLEASE (1940-1943), it was a marriage that was made
in a lower place than Heaven.
From the very beginning, it was a battle between 2 strong willed men, George
Washington Hill, the big cheese of the American Tobacco Company,
and Dan Golenpaul, the creator of INFORMATION PLEASE. While
this relationship was stormy, it took the infamous Lucky Strike
Green Has Gone To War phrase to really stir up trouble.
a typical broadcast of INFORMATION PLEASE, the phrase was uttered
or whispered at every opportunity it could be said--- even during the program! When there was a brief pause in the conversation between M.C. Clifton Fadiman
and the programís panelists, the phrase was presented. Not only did this prove
to be a distraction with the radio listeners, it also made Golenpaul
furious. With the concern of ruining the program, Golenpaul asked Hill to
drop the constant presentation of the phrase. Hill refused. The bitter sponsor/program
relationship would eventually go to court. It was a well-publicized event. Public opinion had Golenpaul as the good guy and Hill as the villain. The
case was dismissed, but the stormy program/sponsor relationship came
to a merciful end. Golenpaul was finally rid of Hill, Lucky Strike,
and the annoying phrase.
Lucky Strike Green Has Gone To War
not only rubbed Golenpaul the wrong way, it also grated the nerves of
the people who mattered the most--- the radio listeners. In a 1943 poll conducted
in Womanís Day magazine, Lucky Strike Green Has Gone
To War was voted one of the most disliked radio commercials by the listeners
Hill thought it served its purpose, Lucky Strike Green Has Gone
To War passed into radio advertising oblivion--- much to the relief of
the listeners. With L.S./M.F.T.
becoming the catch phrase, the Lucky Strike commercials
continued the tradition as a source of unpopularity with the listeners. (For
the record, L.S./M.F.T.
was also voted unpopular in the Womanís Day poll).
On paper, Lucky Strike Green Has
Gone To War appeared to be a patriotic gesture to help the Allies. The
truth to the matter was that Hill intended to change and modernize the
Lucky Strike packs anyway. It just so happened World War II was
in progress--- and the "sacrifice" of the green dye made the
American Tobacco Company look good with the public.