In the spring of 1940 the president of American Tobacco, George Washington Hill, walked into the office of renowned industrial designer Raymond Lowey and set a pack of Lucky Strike cigarettes on his desk. “Someone told me that you could design a better pack,” Hill says, “and I don’t believe it.” Hill bet Lowey $50,000.00 ($845,000.00 in 2017 dollars) that he couldn’t do it. Lowey, known for his work with Studebaker, Exxon and Coca-Cola, accepted the challenge.
Lowey focused on three areas – he simplified the overall typography, enlarged the Lucky Strike logo and altered the colours. He placed the logo on both sides of the cigarette pack and switched the predominantly green package to white. These subtle changes made the product much more appealing to the ever-growing number of female smokers, who felt the new pack was fresher and less masculine looking.
The redesigned cigarette pack went to market and was an immediate success. Sometimes small adjustments can make a big difference. In this case, Lowey’s insights and recommendations on colour produced striking results. And Hill, true to his word, paid off the bet in full.