Tuesday, 16 December 2008

Atten-SHUN!

Comments and requests from adjoining bloggers gets out the unopened packet of ten Guards. Introduced by Carreras in 1960, this was the pack that started all those headlong rushes into clinical stripes and bland geometrics. But this was a classic. My intact version has the guard (apparently promoted to an officer just after the initial launch) in gold outline, but I seem to remember he was also rendered in blind-embossing. That may have denoted filter tips, more probably this was the guard's new uniform when he first went on parade at the tobacconists. Now of course he'd have to hide under the counter like a commando on a covert mission, planned, we hope, with the help of the indefatigable Player's sailor from HMS Hero. Guards, I recall, were sold to sixties cinema audiences with a superb widescreen commercial that pounced on the ceremonial possibilties. A multiscreen of vertical frames of civilians flipped on a horizontal axis (still with me?) turning them into images of marching guardsmen. All cut, of course, to a rousing drum-beating score of something like The British Grenadier. A caption came up at the end that said "People are changing to Guards". Imagine that. Show it now, in some subversive underground club and it'd be enough to give the Tobacco Police their so longed-for collective heart attack.

11 comments:

Ten Inch Wheeler said...

You might like this...

http://tinyurl.com/5j48gb

Peter Ashley said...

Cor! You're right. And there's the embossed packet I went on about. Thankyou Ten Inch.

A F-A said...

Carreras fags were once made in Mornington Crescent, but I think Guards were made in Essex somewhere. What I remember was that they sponsored loads of motor racing and, if you were lucky, there were Guards Girls 'flashing the ash'. Didn't normally like the brand but they were so much nicer when free....

Jon Dudley said...

Thank you for that! My brand of choice at one point, prior to Piccadilly taking over my lungs. Good bold simple design too...love it.

Peter Ashley said...

Carreras Art Deco 'Black Cat' cigarette factory in Mornington Crescent was one of those buildings apparently earmarked by The Third Reich as their London branch office. Hitler also ticked-off the Grand Hotel in Scarborough for when he needed time off from invading other people's countries.

Ten Inch Wheeler said...

I worked in the Carerras building for about sixth months. It was mags, not fags by then though.

Peter Ashley said...

The Carreras building was also the home of Young & Rubicam Advertising. My fag packet collection started (very appropriately) here, with the aquisition of a copywriter's box of swaps in 1975. Another creation from this department was Mo Drake's now legendary line "Beanz Meanz Heinz".

A F-A said...

I once enjoyed sitting next to Willie Rushton at dinner, and asked him what was the question everybody put to him. "How did Mornington Crescent come about!" he said without hesitation (repetition or deviation).

Ron Combo said...

Thanks Shag.

Philip Wilkinson said...

Long ago my father-in-law worked in the Black Cat factory. As a scientist in the lab his job was to find ways increasing the 'filling power' of the tobacco. I think that means using less tobacco per fag.

Peter Ashley said...

Ooh, insider knowledge. That's what we like in Unmitigated England!