Non UK and Ireland peeps, let me explain. This was the 1980s.
This was a billboard campaign for a brand of cigarettes sold in the UK called SILK CUT. The packaging was purple and white. They were a lower tar cigarette. But still lethal obviously.
“But how could you tell it was an ad for Silk Cut?” You couldn’t. That was the whole point.
Government regulation of cigarette advertising had rightly limited them to saying nothing about the product. No claims, no product advertising. Nothing.
So legendary UK adman (silk cut fiend) and modern art collector Charles Saatchi took a more artful approach. Every poster featured purple silk being “cut”. geddit? Silk…Cut. This was the very first what must have been hundreds of executions in the campaign.
a blindingly simple idea that he and other executed masterfully. you followed along to see the clever way they’d figure out how to cut the purple silk next time. and the posters got better and better and better over the years. some were absurd. some broadly comedic. some topical. they were cool. so cool that teenage me started smoking silk cut too.
the power of advertising. thank you charlie!