M9188.8.131.522 | Quebec Favorite Tobacco
Quebec Favorite Tobacco
John Henry Walker (1831-1899)
1850-1885, 19th century
Coloured ink on paper on supporting paper - Wood engraving
34.4 x 17.4 cm
Gift of Mr. David Ross McCord
© McCord Museum
Keywords: Print (10661)
Keys to History
Marketing recognized the value of national heroes and celebrities. In the Victorian age, the public seemed especially fond of great explorers and military heroes. The names of Jacques Cartier and Samuel de Champlain, Joan of Arc and Admiral Nelson were associated with a variety of products and their portraits were featured in trademarks, ads, and on cigar boxes and jam jars. Queen Victoria and her son Prince Arthur were used to sell beer and cologne. Mythical or literary characters were also very popular. Seeking to sell a product by identifying it with a politician such as George-Étienne Cartier was a rare occurrence, however.
Tobacco companies played a major role in the development of marketing in Canada. This advertisement shows that they were quick to recognize the advantage of using celebrities to boost sales.
This ad evokes Quebec as both city and cradle of the French-Canadian nation. The landmarks of the old capital can be recognized, while the beaver beneath the Cartier medallion symbolizes the national community.
The tobacco industry was well established in Quebec in the second half of the 19th century. With its many products-chewing tobacco, snuff and smoking tobacco, as well as cigars-it was one of the biggest industries.
George-Étienne Cartier (1814-73), a Montreal lawyer and politician, was head of the Conservative Party in Quebec for many years. He was to play a fundamental role in the negotiations that led to Confederation.