Walter Cronkite knew his grammar was good, as a journalist should
Image: AP Photo/R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company
Whether or not you’re a smoker, you’re probably familiar with Winston’s famous tagline, “Winston tastes good, like a cigarette should!” Despite being technically grammatically incorrect, the line was used from 1954 until 1972. In fact, in response to the public’s outrage that Madison Avenue ad agency William Esty Co. would deliberately use a preposition instead of a conjunction, Winston even poked fun at itself with grammatically correct ads later on in the campaign's tenure.
While it seems absurd now that a newscaster would help advertise cigarettes, this wasn’t totally weird back in the 1950s. When Cronkite hosted The Morning Show, he was asked to say the tagline and light up a cigarette before signing off.
He was never asked to do it again, because he said, “Winston tastes good, as a cigarette should.” He refused to say, "like a cigarette…." Winston execs even called him out for not puffing on the cigarette in a convincing way.
The moral of the story: never ask a journalist to compromise his grammar.