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Sunday, March 05, 2006

Boxing Smokes

One could probably write an interesting essay on global pop cultures and how they change over time by just looking at the packaging and marketing of cigarettes. So I can only dig a site like Igor Sergeev's vast collection of cigarette boxes from all over the world.

Sergeev claims to have collected more than 16,000 packages (at least he did so in 2004), and he put almost 6,000 of them online. It's a fascinating collection, and my only contention would be that I'd love to arrange the items in a chronological or regional order, to see which changes and modifications have happened over time. Off the cuff I'd say that while during the 70's and 80's tobacco companies used to play more on images of adventure, fashion and sports (and still showed people who were actually smoking), recent advertising has put more weight on indivualism, free will, and even included self-deprecating bouts of irony and humour.

But that goes mostly for designs from the Western hemisphere. Elsewhere other things seem to be more important: Some bloomy Chinese designs obviously put more stress on fragrance, romance, even hygiene, and could also pass as packages for paper tissues.

(And btw, no, I won't include a health warning here. Believe me, you don't have to inhale anything by just looking at the boxes.)

Via Shopiere.


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