Virginia Slims Cigarette Box

Virginia Slims Cigarette Box

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In 1939, Walter Landor arrived in the United States to help install the British training pavilion at the New York World’s Fair. At twenty-six years old, Landor had left his home in Germany to study art and design in Britain, where he became the youngest Fellow of the Royal Society of Industrial Artists. With whispers of war circulating around Europe, Landor decided to stay in the United States and travelled to the West Coast in search of design work. In 1941, Landor and his new wife Josephine Martinelli founded Walter Landor and Associates (today Landor) in their San Francisco apartment. The company specialized in packaging and label design for a number of iconic brands ranging from Marlboro cigarettes to Aunt Jemima to Sara Lee. As the company expanded, Landor’s base of operations moved from his home through several locations until it settled in 1962 on the Klamath, a docked ferryboat in the San Francisco Bay that would become an iconic part of Landor’s own brand.
In 1968, Philip Morris introduced Virginia Slims as a new brand of cigarettes tailored especially to women. Early marketing for these cigarettes created by Leo Burnett used the language of the women’s rights movements with a carefully crafted slogan: “You’ve come a long way, baby.” The advertising campaign focused on progress that women had advanced so far that they had a cigarette created especially for them. While marketing cigarettes to women had begun in the 1920s, by the 1950s, Philip Morris found that their brands lacked a cigarette directed at women. Marlboro had previously held that role, but with the shift to a focus on cowboys and male athletes, the brand had stopped appealing to women.
As indicated by the name, Philip Morris designed Virginia Slims cigarettes to be thinner than “male” cigarettes, and came in a slimmer pack meant to fit easily into a purse. While Leo Burnett handled the marketing, Philip Morris hired Landor to design this packaging to look elegant and feminine.
Currently not on view
Object Name
overall: 10.3 cm x 3.3 cm x 1 cm; 4 1/16 in x 1 5/16 in x 3/8 in
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
Credit Line
Bequest of Walter and Josephine Landor
Data Source
National Museum of American History
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