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 Gallaher Silk Cut Cigarette Adverts

This will be a slow-loading page. The following Gallaher cigarette advertisements illustrate Alastair McIntosh's paper, From Eros to Thanatos: Cigarette Advertising's Imagery of Violation as an Icon into British Cultural Psychopathology. There are 2 other pages of cigarette advertising (click below). Captions, where appropriate, are given above the pictures. [New images kindly sent to me by readers have been added in 2007].

Click here to see adverts for Gallaher's Benson & Hedges brand.

Click here to see Death and other brands' tobacco advertising

The "Haggis" ad - that prompted publication of this study.

"Silk Cunt" - Charles Saatchi's 1983 Saatchi & Saatchi ad for Gallaher that launched the "silk cut" theme - described as the most successful cigarette advertising campaign of all time. to the right is Gallaher's "Psycho" ad that followed it..


Below - 1994 (left), 1995 (right)


Below -  from billboards in Edinburgh around 1995. In the bottom one the trouser fabric should be purple, but the colour balance in my photograph fails to show this.

These are only parts of ads that it was easy to scan in. The can-can dancers was a row of 4 such images. In the scissors to the right, one of the pairs not shown was a set of surgical scissors.


"Dying for a Slash" - M & C Saatchi's pawn outside the toilet, with a knife on the door.

Silk Cut Ad: Pawns outside toilet


The last of the "Thanatos" images from Silk Cut? This is from The Times, 10 February 1997, p. 13, some 6 months after publication of my paper proposing a psychological explanation of Saatchi's campaign. The ad that ran prior to this one showed a cigarette packet cut apart, and this one crudely stitches it back together, as if it has been operated upon. After this, I have not noticed any more gruesome ads from the company. It's as if the original "silk cut" has now been stitched up again. One wonders if, in the light of publicity the "Eros & Thanatos" paper gained (Sunday Times, Wall Street Journal, etc.) the ads had become counterproductive in the mind of a more conscientised public. Maybe they felt that their game was stitched up and so they had to stitch it up.



The same mind that masterminded the Silk Cut campaign - that of Charles Saatchi, is also credited for having put Margaret Thatcher's government into power in 1979 with the advert below, and so changing the face of British politics.

Gallahersucks ... Silkcutsucks ... as they'd say? Take-off advert (below) given out in Edinburgh pubs, c. 1996, to advertise a nightclub. And lastly, below right - cartoon from Independent on Sunday, 19-2-95, p. 1 (business section) when Saatchi & Saatchi were bought up and the brothers created M & C Saatchi in its place. 



Charles Saatchi portrait (taken from somewhere on the internet)... a recluse, he has reportedly not given a media interview for 20 years. His brother, Maurice, was knighted for services to the Conservative Party





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