KOOL Penguin
Magazine Advertising

There are dozens, perhaps hundreds, of different KOOL cigarette magazine ads featuring the KOOL penguin.  Assembling a complete collection would be a daunting task, indeed.  This page presents a representative selection only, divided by general category, in an attempt to give the would-be collector a guide to the field.

I have identified at least 8 distinct categories:

Full-Page Color

Full-page ads vary in size depending on the size of the magazine.  The most striking of these appeared in Fortune Magazine during the latter half of the 1930s.  Those pages measure 11 by 14 inches.  The same or similar ads also appeared as full pages in the slightly smaller Saturday Evening Post and Life.  Most of the ads that I have seen in "standard" size magazines are less than full page, although there certainly are exceptions.  I have identified at least 40 different full-page color KOOL penguin ads.  Click the image to view a selection of them.

I have designated ads of less than a full page in terms of the column width.  Thus, a one-column ad in a large format magazine might take up only one-quarter of the page, while the same ad in a smaller format magazine might occupy one-third of the page.  With this in mind, you will understand that I have not given measurements in inches.

Two-column, One-Color

The "one-color" in all of these ads is a shade of green, consistent with the general use of the green color in all KOOL cigarette related promotions.  Several of these ads feature the penguin in sports-related activities.

As seen in the image at left, nearly all of them also feature some of the merchandise premiums that could be acquired by saving coupons that came in each pack of smokes.  Click the image to view a selection of other ads in this category.  All of the images found thereby have been cropped so as to highlight only the penguin.

Two-column, Black and White

As with the other two-column ads, these generally feature some of the merchandise premiums that the purchaser could order by mail, assuming a steady hand despite the coughing.

Some ads which appear to be identical, are found, upon examination, to have different premiums at the bottom.  Thus, the completist will need (and I use that word in a manner that collectors understand) all variations, even though the casual observer might not detect any difference between two "lifeguard image" advertisements.  Click the image to view a selection of other ads in this category.  All of the images found thereby have been cropped so as to highlight only the penguin.

Two-column, One-Color (Story Theme)

The "story theme" class of one-color, two-column, ads is distinct enough to be regarded as a separate class.

In each that I have seen, the story is presented in five "panels" and the "story" is such that the penguin is shown at the end in a costume such as the one shown here (a jockey from Liberty magazine 9/23/44) or a railroad brakeman (Collier's 2/2/46).

One-column, one color
One-column, black and white

All of these that I have seen are in the same format as seen here; the penguin above, with the cigarette pack and premium coupon below.  Most are black and white, but a one-color version is also known.  There may have been a great many of these.  I have seen at least 20 different ones.  A few are from the larger format magazines, but they seem to be more common in such titles as The Literary Digest, The American Magazine, and The New Yorker.

Quarter-Page Black and White

These little guys, dating to the period 1950-51, are a variation of the "Willie the Penguin Says:" poems that appear on the back of the cigarette packs.  I'm calling them "quarter-page," although I have seen one in a large-format magazine that occupies less space than that.  Click the image to view a selection of other ads in this category.

Full-Page Color ("Snow Fresh" theme)

In 1958, as poor Willie penguin approached the end of his run, he was incorporated into a transitional advertising campaign.  Reduced to a subordinate role, he seems out of place as a mere appendage in the ads for "Snow Fresh" KOOL cigarettes.  Brown & Williamson had decided to dump our little friend and shift the focus to happy couples engaged in a healthy, fresh-air, outdoor life style.  In the 1959 "Snow Fresh Filter" ads, Willie was moved to the bottom of the page and appeared in an even smaller size.  It was his last hurrah.

Depending on how you got here, you may:

Go back to the main "Willie" the KOOL Penguin page, or

Go back to the "Willie" Penguin Collectibles page.

This page created and maintained by Jim Lowe
First appearance:  May 4, 1999
Last updated:  May 4, 1999

>© 1999 by James R. Lowe, who reserves all rights to the content of this page not successfully claimed by others.