HINTERLANDGALLERY presents DEATH™ Cigarettes from the Enlightened Tobacco Company PLC:
an exhibition of the twentieth century’s most honest, provocative and confrontational product campaign.
DEATH™ Cigarettes were launched in the UK in 1991 and sold originally in black soft packaging printed with a white skull and crossbones. Later products included DEATH™ Lights (marketed as Slow DEATH™), and DEATH™ Shag. Bold, no nonsense designs clearly stated the product’s ethos; “Manufacturer’s advice: Cigarettes are addictive and debilitating. If you don’t smoke don’t start.” “It’s Your funeral” and “Too bad, You’re gonna die.”
HINTERLANDGALLERY’s exhibition will be featuring the only two known surviving original ‘ADSHELL’ posters from the ‘suppressed’ 1994 DEATH™ Cigarettes poster campaign, original ‘DEATH™ Trap’ vending machines, early original artwork designed for DEATH™ Cigarettes original website homepage and other DEATH™ related products.
HINTERLANDGALLERY will also be offering a very limited number of 1120 mm x 1580 mm and 594 mm x 841 mm sized giclee prints professionally reproduced and enhanced from each original poster used in the seminal advertising campaign, both being unique to this exhibition. Each limited DEATH™ Cigarettes giclee print is individually numbered and comes complete with a certificate of authenticity personally signed by DEATH™ Cigarettes founder and renowned branding guru – BJ Cunningham.
“Our cause is just. We must prevail.” – In 1991 Cunningham saw that the status quo in the tobacco industry was a massive lie. Calling out the Marlboro Man and Dunhill sophisticate as fake, The Enlightened Tobacco Company’s DEATH™ Cigarettes sold the truth when it came to lighting up and placed freedom of choice directly back into the hands of the smoker.
“Let us be the nail in your coffin” and “Choose DEATH™” – The 1994 “SERIAL KILLER” & “BLOW YOURSELF AWAY” poster campaigns later led onto a protracted European Court Case that championed the rights of UK smokers to benefit from their European citizenship by way of a game changing tax arbitrage scheme. DEATH™ lost the case in what was described as a ‘political ruling’ that finally drove the nail into the coffin and forced DEATH™ back to the grave.
DEATH™ remains legendary as a truly unique and honest branding exercise. Although it ultimately failed to succeed, no other legally available product has ever gone so far in “sticking it to the man”.
DEATH™ was both the product, and the guarantee – “The Grim Reaper, don’t come cheaper.”