BAD GRAMMAR IN GOOD TASTE: FORGET ABOUT TEACHERS' DIRTY LOOKS: BAD GRAMMAR HELPED LAUNCH THIS BRAND INTO FAME AND PROFIT.

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R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. debuted its new filter-tip cigarette, Winston, in March 1954. The grammatically questionable slogan was born during a meeting between RJR's advertising committee and its agency, William Esty Co., about how to promote the brand.

No single individual ever took credit for the jingle, which originally appeared in Pittsburgh newspapers on Sept. 6, 1954, as "Winston tastes real good -- like a cigarette should." The refined version, which dropped the word "real," debuted in Life a month later. In 1956, the slogan was set to music and broadcast on radio. That same year, it premiered on TV in a b&w, animated commercial featuring a dancing clef in 1956.

As purists lobbied the company to change the slogan to "Winston tastes good as a cigarette should," scholars debated the issue in newspapers and on TV.

Probably the most famous incident occurred when noted author and critic John Mason Brown, following a 20-minute discussion, declared that the jingle actually caused him physical pain. Then he pulled a pack of Winstons from his pocket, lit one, and declared, "But I think the cigarette is great."

When a group of teachers entered the fray, RJR added the tagline "What do you want? Good grammar or good taste?"

The slogan helped vault Winston to the top of the cigarette market. In the first nine months of the campaign, 6.5 billion packages were sold, and by 1956 it was the top filter brand, with sales of 31 billion cigarettes. Ten years later it

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