Armenian immigrant Nishan Murad introduced Murad cigarettes in the late 19th century in New York City.
At this time in history, smoking was a popular pastime among Americans. Murad recognized the opportunity to create a unique and premium brand of cigarettes. He set out to create a product that would stand out from other tobacco offerings on the market.
Murad’s vision was to produce a cigarette that was not only rich in flavor but also aesthetically pleasing. His cigarettes had a distinctive gold and silver packaging. They featured an ornate emblem of a lion’s head. The design became an iconic symbol of the brand. It helped to establish its reputation as a premium tobacco product.
The pitch was that Turkish tobacco was sun-cured. This combined to also make it more acidic. Therefore, it was supposed to be preferable to air-cured or flue-cured tobacco. The real appeal was probably the exotic nature of being imported from the Middle East. It was only later that the American smokers abandoned this marketing ploy in favor of Virginia tobacco.
Boost from a Great Artist
Murad also benefited from sensational artwork in its advertising, done by famous artist, Rea Irvin.
Rea Irvin was an American graphic artist and cartoonist. He is best known for creating the original Eustace Tilley cover illustration for the New Yorker magazine. He also worked on advertising campaigns for various clients, including Murad cigarettes.
Irvin created illustrations for Murad cigarette ads during the early 20th century, around the 1910s and 1920s. His illustrations were notable for their Art Nouveau style. They featured intricate lines and flowing curves, as well as his use of bold colors and dramatic imagery. Some of his most famous Murad cigarette ads featured people in exotic settings. They smoked cigarettes with a sense of glamour and sophistication.
Collectable Cards Too
Irvin’s art was also featured in Murad’s pioneering early trading cards. They depicted not only baseball, but various college sports including football and basketball. The cards served the dual purpose of also reinforcing the backs of cigarette packs. This protected the contents from being crushed.
Lorillard bought Murad in 1911. At the time, Murad was still a successful brand. The name, however, was phased out eventually.
- Year Started: 1895
- Year Ended: 1920
- Origin Of Name: Name of Founder / Descriptive
- Location Sales: Worldwide
- Brand Name Predecessor: N/A
- Brand Name Successor: N/A
- Owner Original: Nishan Murad
- Owner While In Use: Nishan Murad
- Owner Successor: Lorillard
- Year Resurrected: N/A
- What’s Popular Today: Camel Cigarettes
- Naics Code: 312230
- Location Headquarters: New York, New York, USA