Redesign to Decline: El Producto Cigars

Between 1955 and 1975 Consolidated Cigars undertook a series of package redesigns to better market its El Producto brand to different audiences. In the 1950s, designers created the "Fold-a-Pak" cigar box, which held five cigars, to appeal to younger smokers. Later, reknowned package designer Irv Koons updated the box by angling the text to stand out on store shelves. Koons also changed the image on the front of the box from that of an "exotic" Grecian woman to one of a "modern" sexy blonde with a bouffant hairdo.

Despite advertisements featuring El Producto-smoking celebrity George Burns, sales of the brand fell drastically from the 1960s to the 1990s. Though other issues factored in, management at Consolidated Cigars dubbed the new blonde character “the company bimbo” because they believed she directly contributed to the decline of the brand.

Images and related content in the Hagley Digital Archives: