Coat of Arms

Denotative Meanings

A coat of arms is the unique heraldic bearings or shield that many established groups (e.g. royal families, corporations, universities, and governments) have used for centuries to symbolize their identity and values. Each part of the coat of arms, such as a crest, conveys specific meaning, and overall, coats of arms are traditionally associated with status, nobility, achievement, and aristocracy. 1, 2 One prominent component of a heraldic display is the crest, which is located on the top portion of the coat of arms, 3, 4 and which takes the form of a crown on many coats of arms used on cigarette packages.

The coat of arms can be used as a logo. Its appearance and meanings can be influenced by the use of colour, hot foil stamping, finishes, embossing and debossing, and even the incorporation of a monogram.

Importance

Research conducted by American Tobacco found that people believe a “coat of arms denotes quality/class.” 5 And tobacco industry document analysis reveals that the “use of crests on the packaging creates a feeling of high quality, more premium cigarette.” 6 Moreover, the tobacco industry has been known to use the coat of arms design element for marketing purposes. For instance, in 1972, Pall Mall consumers were invited to purchase an ashtray or plaque or both with their family name or initial on the Pall Mall crest. 7, 8

Connotations

Overarching Theme Sub-Theme Connotative Chains
Lifestyle Luxury / Glamour Historical usage by royalty and other wealthy/noble people –> High-status, nobility, aristocracy –> Luxury

  • Crown –> Ornamental headdress worn by a monarch as a symbol of authority, often made of precious metals and jewels. “The coat of arms contributes quality, class and tradition”  9 10
    –> Wealth, status, luxury
  • Horses –> The animals found on the English aristocracy’s coat of arms –> Nobility, governance –> Status, luxury
  • Floral wreath –> Julius Caesar, United Nations flag –> Wealth, prestige, justice, democracy
  • “The emblem gives it kind of a regal feel. Kind of snobby in a good way, like people who are classy and have good taste.” 11
  • Examples include:

    Pall MallPall Mall coat

    MalboroMarlboro coatViscountViscount coat

When used in conjunction with other design elements that connote luxury—such as embossing and debossing, hot-foil stamping, and monograms—the coat of arms conveys even a greater richness and takes on an added meaning of luxuriousness:

  • Example: coat of arms from B&H de Luxe seriesB&H de luxe coat
  • Its 1994 Strategic plan notes that “‘High quality’ and ‘class’ are consistent, even synonymous with Benson & Hedges imagery” 12
  • “Raised crest: adds quality, upclass” 13
Lifestyle  Gender “Crest: classy, important, imported, masculine” 14

 

Notes:

  1. The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition. Coat of Arms. Available at: http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/coat+of+arms. Accessed August 17, 2011.
  2. Wikipedia. Coat of Arms. Available at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coat_of_arms. Accessed August 17, 2011.
  3. Wikipedia. Crest (heraldry). Available at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crest_(heraldry). Accessed September 2011.
  4. Fleur-de-lis Designs. Heraldry & the Parts of a Coat of Arms. Available at: http://www.fleurdelis.com/coatofarms.htm. Accessed September 15, 2011.
  5. American Tobacco. Cigarette Advertising Study Conducted For Pall Mall Famous Cigarette. Available at: http://legacy.library.ucsf.edu/tid/qku11a00. Accessed December 12, 2012.
  6. Greenfield Consulting Group for Phillip Morris. Merit packaging Exploratory. Available at: http://legacy.library.ucsf.edu/tid/mlg61b00/pdf. Accessed July 21, 2011.
  7. Pall Mall Extra Milds. Available at: http://legacy.library.ucsf.edu/tid/fdf02d00. Accessed December 12, 2011.
  8. American Tobacco. Is your name listed below if so send for this proud offer from Pall Mall Extra Mild. Available at: http://legacy.library.ucsf.edu/tid/jdh51a00. Accessed December 12, 2012.
  9. Johnston & Associates. Project Linebacker Qualitative Research, Calgary, Vancouver (RBH-2051).Available at: http://legacy.library.ucsf.edu/tid/jzn70g00/pdf. Accessed August 17, 2011.
  10. The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition. Crown. Available at:http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/crown. Accessed July 22, 2011.
  11. Greenfield Consulting Group for Phillip Morris. Legacy Tobacco Documents Library. San Francisco, CA: University of California; 1998. Available at: http://legacy.library.ucsf.edu/tid/mlg61b00. Accessed July 21, 2011.
  12. Philip Morris. Summary Of Consumer Learning About Packaging Elements. http://legacy.library.ucsf.edu/action/document/page?tid=zpo45e00. Accessed December 13, 2011.
  13. Ibid.
  14. Ibid.