Nikotex cigarettes - Rebuild your health

Hungarian title:

Nikotex dohánytermékek - Építse újjá egészséget


Seiler, István


A0 2 Sheet (cca. 116 x 82 cm)




Fine, restored, light fold marks.


Paper, offset lithography.

Price: US$6000


Nikotex cigarettes - Rebuild your health is a 1947 original Hungarian vintage commercial poster designed by Istvan Seiler.

In the 1930s big companies started to compete with each other and as a result, carefully designed marketing plans appeared on the market. These campaigns gave birth to numerous beautiful posters. The tobacco companies were also coming up with spectacular advertisments since in those times it was allowed to promote tobacco without any legal or ethical restrictions. The main tobacco companies of the time were Modiano, Senator and Nikotex, and the most prominent artists were commissioned to design posters for them, for example Sándor BortnyikRóbert Berény or Gyula Macskássy. Modiano was famous for its beautiful modernist and later art deco posters and it wasn't easy for Nikotex creating something different but equally decorative and easy to identify with the brand. Finally Nikotex managed to come up with grandiose designs. 

Nikotex used other means besides advertisments to differentiate itself from the competition: in the 1930s they reduced the nicotone in their products. Many posters chose this asset to focus on in the advertisments. At the time Nikotex was considered the less harmful but more expensive brand available on the tobacco market. Interestingly, it is not a contemporary attitude to deal with the concerns related to smoking. Hungary has been producing cigarettes since 1865 and attempts had been made by the turn of the century to produce less harmful cigarettes. However, filtered cigaretts weren't made until 1962 in Hungary.

Nikotex was established in 1930 with the goal of finding a solution to subtract nicotone from the cigarettes. After years of researching they did manage to produce less harmful cigarettes but not by filtering the smoke but by reducing the nicotone in the tobacco. Soon many tobacco production companies started to produce classic and Nikotex version. This was when the classification of tobacco products that are still in use today was created, namely when one brand offers more types of one product, such as, strong, medium or light. Moreover, cigarette brands started to use the colours we use today for marking the strength of their products (red for the stronger, blue for the lighter). In those times tobacco related advertisments were very common, and not only posters were used for this purpose but advertising slips as well. Nikotex has remained very popular until the end of the 1950s which can mainly be accounted to the fact that it wasn't much more expensive then general cigarettes and - according to the attitude of the time - it was less harmful. 

Many Nicotex posters highlighted the healthy factor of the product. This piece has multiple messages. It says rebuild your healt, what is represented visually with the smoke clearing the black mist and allowing a clear sight of the city. At the same time, 'rebuilding' refers to the actual rebuilding of the city after the severe damages it suffered in the war. All the bridges were blewn up for example. On this poster as Nikotex builds up health it also builds up the city from the ruins. The message implies that the income from tobacco is invested in building plans. 

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