Long before they were pitching children’s vitamins and breakfast cereal, Fred Flintstone and Barney Rubble were hawking cigarettes for the R. J. Reynolds Tobacco Company. In 1961, the primary sponsor of ABCs hot new primetime animated sit-com, The Flintstones, was RJR’s Winston line of coffin nails.
The storyline for the first few commercials revolved around Fred and Barney stealing time away from work or household chores to sneak a smoke.
FRED: “They (Wilma and Betty) sure work hard.”
BARNEY: “Yeah, I hate to watch them work so hard.”
FRED: “Um, let’s go around back where we can’t see them.”
…and out come the Winstons and a glowing testimonial about “the filter cigarette that delivers flavor twenty times a pack!” and the tagline for all of the commercials: “Winston tastes good like a good cigarette should!”