Calendar, cigarette advertising, paper/metal, British American Tobacco Co, Shanghai, China, 1911-1913
This calendar was designed and printed in Shanghai, China. The names of the artist and the printer of this particlular image are unknown.
The success of these types of advertising calendars/posters meant that local artists and designers found a lucrative outlet with the growing demand for watercolour posters. Some were employed directly by companies such as the British American Tobacco Co and China Nanyang Brother Tobacco Co, others set up their own studios. This fostered a new form of expression that is a synthesis of Western ideas and technologies, and Chinese illustration technique, in which Chinese watercolour technique was effectively employed to add emphasis and a refined elegance to posters depicting familiar Chinese scenes and settings, historical figures, gods and characters of opera and legend.
Overseas companies such as the British American Tobacco Co, were the first to introduce this type of product promotion to China, which then prompted similar tactics from local Chinese companies.
Date of 1911 printed on reverse while 1912-13 are the dates covered by the calendar.
British American Tobacco Co, Shanghai, China.
These types of calendar/posters were commisioned by BAT to be given to their customers as a form of advertising for their cigarette brands. They were usually given to costumers once they had purchased of certain number of cigarettes.
The British American Tobacco Company (BAT) was established in 1902 combining The American Tobacco Company and the Imperial Tobacco Company headed by W H Wills, both of which had been competing for foreign markets, especially China. BAT opened it's first factory in the Pudong district of Shanghai in the same year. By 1937 BAT's holdings in China had grown to 11 factories, six leaf cutting plants, six printing plants, one packing materials plant and one machine shop, all employing more than 25,000 people.
During the early 1930s increased Japanese influence and boycotts of foreign goods led BAT to organise the Xuchang Leaf Tobacco Co and the Yee Tsoong Tobacco Co to take over various operations. In 1937 the Tobacco Development Co and the Capital Lithographers Co took over leaf collection and printing plants for BAT.
From the beginning BAT monopolised sales in the Shanghai area and in the 10 years after that they established a vast, well controlled distribution network. The company divided distributing organisations into a number of departments, divisions and territories. These were not directly involved in sales, but rather of advertising, shipping and collecting monies. These networks took advertising posters into rural areas.
The BAT (China) Co was moved to Hong Kong in about 1947 and had its assets in China nationalised sometime after. It still made huge profits out of China via it's subsidiaries in China. BAT still has a base in Hong Kong today and aims to boost exports of it's products to China and other emerging Asian markets.
Purchased by the vendor in China in 1995.