We’ve come a long way

August 6, 2018
 by Paul McGowan

“Winston tastes good like a cigarette should” is a catchy ad line from long ago—a time when society’s views on smoking and stereos were very different.

Reader Scott Brinckman sent me this classic ad from a 1975 Stereo Review magazine.

Looking at all the elements in the ad we can understand the creator’s intent: cool guy sitting on his deck, hot woman approaching, and a killer quad surround system waiting. If you do this, you’ll get that. This is back at a time when both cigarettes and hifi systems were positioned as defining markers for manliness. Men (real men) smoked cigarettes and had the latest hifi systems. Do this, be perceived as that.

Today you occasionally see hifi manufacturers adding a little sex and sizzle to their ads for speakers or hifi kit, but it’s rare. Fortunately, most manufacturer’s ads focus on performance and or end results: how you will feel when you purchase their products.

We’ve come a long way.

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37 comments on “We’ve come a long way”

  1. For me the only credible and fact based message of this ad is: women like wireless music systems. Even photos in actual ads still promote the core message!

    1. hi Glenn,

      I didn’t realize that you were this far into audio. we will get along quite well in that way. its been a long time since Lolo’s stereo with a sleep timer was my music source.

      we should arrange to meet up.

      … xroy.

  2. A real man indeed. OK, skip the cigarettes.
    But at least he lives life as he wants it, buys speakers of whatever size he wants. Not restricted by WAF.
    Those were the days.

    1. Wow, a real man can hide all the cables.
      Probably just brought all the gear out for a listening session in the sun, how enjoyable.
      Don’t think smoke, sand or salty air would be a problem in the short-term as long as its not windy.
      I’ve seen enough electronics on fishing boats to see what salty air can do though.
      He’s a real man with a gorgeous girl, speedboat etc. what he needs is a PS Audio hifi system indoors.

    1. The beach is a mandatory requirement for playing this system otherwise the cigarette smoke would totally ruin the whole vinyl record player system. However the turntable should profit from a more solid base remote from the power supply or the receiver.

      1. Indeed! Thus absolute calm air and no water waves and breakers are allowed when engaging this Hifi system. Maybe that’s why this alpha man stopped starting the cabling. Too much ambient noise and dusty winds. Consequently he called his girl friend.

  3. Today men are vegan beta apes. No strength, no aggression, no power. Feelings is what counts. And if you think like a woman, you buy like a woman. You choose mp3 and easypeasy wireless devices, not hardcore Hifi equipment.

    It is the feeling that counts, not quality or better, higher, more expensive. A bad sign for the future sales of highend equipment.

    1. Maybe it is kind of pregnancy envy which drives men to develop most complex artificial children like Hifi systems, cars, cameras, etc? 😉 Guess what is the “strongest” gender from a biological point of view?

    2. Yeah Paul. C’mon – make audio advertising great again! I need unrealistic role models who have lots of cash, no taste and hot arm candy. And please give me back my childhood inability to discriminate between advertising and reality! : )

      P.S. (when I was that guys age, I had hair like that. The ‘stache is too “Magnum P.I.” for me though)

      1. Unrealistic ? Why ?
        And no taste ? Haven’t you seen the hot woman approaching…
        But your idea is fine.
        PSAudio definitely should make an advertising with young mr. McGowan (aka Scott)
        on the beach with his recently acquired BHK set in front of him, accompanied by the IRS V, with the mandatory hot woman of his choice.
        Now that Music room one is not available anymore no problem, I guess.
        I expect sales to go sky-high.

  4. That stuff does stick in your head though. When I read the title and the post, couldn’t help but recall, “You’ve come a long way, baby….” – betcha a lot of us can recall the rest of that line, and what it was for.

    1. There were no better times to be had than to be 18 in 1986… give me my bedroom, my g/f Sheila, my Eico 3070, Fisher tuner, and AR4x’s, and we were in heaven…

  5. “pregnancy envy” Really ?
    9 months with an ever increasing belly. The last couple of months you can hardly sleep well or walk as a normal being.
    Oh yes, I’m so jealous…

    1. Isn’t it the final result which counts? Or do you really enjoy switching and comparing a near endless number of different cables, components and tweaks for your Hifi system? That’s a rather frustrating job, isn’t it?

      1. I am very happy to have the opportunity to switch cables etc. if I don’t like the sound.
        Now I let you in on a secret. Don’t tell anyone.
        I didn’t like the sound of the end result of 9 months pregnancy (screaming child) and asked my wife if she would be ok if I switched the baby for a better sounding specimen.
        She refused !
        Fortunately over the years the sound improved, once the baby was burnt in.
        Just like cables do.
        And now with that same screaming baby (32 now) I go to rock concerts every now and then.

    1. I assume/hope folks are kidding when they say they long for the good old days. If not, it’s sad.

      Speaking of sad stuff, RIP Tomasz Stanko. And thanks to him for making me aware of Marcin Wasilewski.

      1. I don’t know, my fondest memories are from about 1985-1992. A really tight group of friends, traveling a 4 State area, to see the Grateful Dead. Money wasn’t an issue, health was good. I was young enough to not be concerned about my mortality.
        I don’t dwell on it, but I would guess there are very few people who don’t have a period in their past they look back on fondly. Just like we all have times of our life we hated. Green Day said it quite well in “Loss Of Control”.
        “I’d rather go to a funeral than into this High School reunion!”
        Don’t you miss the days when your kids were growing up?

    2. I call bullshit Paul. I’ve heard the Elton John interview and the Pink Floyd prequel concert to Dark Side of the Moon. Riding shotgun on jumbo jets. Lord knows what else you were up to. 😉

  6. The Chinese have a saying; a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. Only 999 miles more to go. At the rate we’re going the problem will be solved in the year 3018.

  7. Come along way indeed, but did anyone notice the amount of gear here ?
    For the price of a decent headphone cable you get 4 # “two way “bookshelf”?? speakers ” , a quad receiver ,and a automatic turntable with diamond stylus ! Granted its Fisher as the ad says “Light up and enjoy Winston .The sound is real enough to touch. The pleasure is real enough to taste . Fisher Quad and the Winston Box . They’re both for real” .
    Yea both” REAL” bad for your lungs and ears , but even for a Fisher system in 1975 still a pretty good deal ?
    I would have loved to have seen this pitch on Mad Men !

  8. That ad reminded me of how pissed I was at that time to be stuck in a society that thought that way. I used to sit in my room alone (with my nice tube stereo) and wonder how long was it going to take for the rest of us to finally grow up. Sorry.. that ad brought back memories that I am glad are behind me.

  9. And here I was regretting not taking up cigarettes, if they came with a beach house, and a hot woman. I don’t miss coming home from a bar, reeking of smoke. I was watching a few minutes of a very old Johnny Carson show, where the guests were smoking, and any TV shows based in the ’60s on back where well over half the cast were smoking.

    Product placement with stereo equipment is still going on today. Harman has Mac gear and various Revel speakers, on “Elementary”. I recall the show “Friends” having I think it was Martin Logan speakers. I was told, never saw it, that “The Sopranos” had a Sota Sapphire turntable on the show. It supposedly sold a lot of turntables, just for show.
    I don’t recall a lot of ads being captioned, promoting a second product though. Oops, missed the headline, Fisher quad at a discount.

  10. That was then. Now is now. There was nothing like political correctness then. Now there is nothing without political correctness. Concrete, unimaginative thinking is the rule of the day. Ads reflect how people think and want one to think just like PC. Interesting times. Enjoy while it lasts. Things change. Nothing lasts forever. Regards.

  11. There was a time when jhabing a cool stereo system WAS sexy. Now you’re looked at like some kind of weird obsessed nerd, who has more money than sense. “Why do you need a stereo worth more than 400 bucks??!” they ask, incredulously…

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