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The gravesite of George Washington Hill

George Washington Hill (October 22, 1884, Philadelphia - September 13, 1946, Matapedia) was President of American Tobacco Co. in 1929 after his father Percival Hill. George Washington Hill developed Lucky Strike cigarettes and had success in getting it to the top five of US consumed cigarettes. Public relations expert Edward Bernays was hired by George Hill to reverse the taboo against women smoking in public. Through his advertisement campaigns he succeeded in introducing women to smoking.[1]


Early life

Hill started his education at Williams College, but left in 1904 before graduating. His father was vice president at the American Tobacco Company and as such George also worked there. After the company acquired the line of Pall Mall cigarettes, George was responsible for sales and under him the cigarettes became the most popular among Turkish tobaccos. As a result of an antitrust lawsuit the company got divided into four competing firms in 1911. Senior Hill was the president of the new American tobacco company and his son was assigned to be a sales manager. The Lucky Strike brand was introduced five years later by the firm and George was in charge of the new brand, designing its advertising and marketing campaigns by himself. The success of the campaign is attributed to renowned publicist Edward Bernays. [1]


In 1925 George Hill's father died and he became the new president of the firm. A year later Lucky Strike accounted for one fifth of the U.S. cigarette sales. In 1927 he aimed his advertisements toward women, which was a first. Through the inclusion of film stars and singers, Lucky Strike accounted for 38 percent of U.S. cigarette sales. During the Great Depression the company was successful and Hill had a salary of more than $2,000,000. He invested a lot in advertising and sponsored Your Hit Parade and the Jack Benny Show. He also sponsored Frank Sinatra, Ethel Smith and Lawrence Tibbett.[1]


George Washington Hill died in 1946 at age 61. He is interred at Sleepy Hollow Cemetery in Sleepy Hollow, NY.

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