“You’ve Come A Long Way, Baby”: Virginia Slims and the Women’s Lib Movement

By | March 21, 2019

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Girl smiling smoking a cigarette. Mexico, October 1968. Source: (Photo by Mario De Biasi;Sergio Del Grande/Mondadori Portfolio via Getty Images)

Perhaps no other marketing campaign in the history of advertising captured the spirit of the times like the Virginia Slims’ “You’ve Come a Long Way, Baby!” campaign. The series of print and TV ads were a bit of a history lesson…showing what women endured in the past juxtaposed with a modern, liberated woman. In the midst of the women’s liberation movement, these ads served as a measurement to show women that, even though they were still fighting for total gender equality, they had come a long way over the years. March is Women’s History month, so it is only fitting that we take a look at how one company’s marketing program helped support a social movement. 

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Source: (pinterest.com)

A Cigarette Marketing to Women

The Philip Morris Company introduced Virginia Slims on July 22, 1968. This was the first cigarette that was designed and marketed for women smokers. The majority of adults in the 1960s and 1970s smoked and women were no exception. Virginia Slims were thinner so they would look more graceful in a woman’s hand. The cigarettes were packaged in a gold-trimmed box. Now they just needed a catchy marketing campaign that appealed to women.