Those Crazy Frogs On Cigar Box Labels

I always wondered why Frogs were such a popular theme on vintage cigar labels. You would think selling cigars was all about taste, aroma, and quality. Frogs don’t exactly appeal to any of these characteristics.

Then I remembered the Budweiser Frog commercials of the 1990’s. Remember the Super Bowl TV ads where three croaking swamp frogs snatched containers of Budweiser beer with their sticky tongues. Each frog croaked a single syllable that together spelled out “Bud-weis-er.”  These ads were extremely popular and sold a ton of beer.

Looking into it a little deeper I found the frog is one of the oldest and most magical symbols – standing for transformation, regeneration and new directions in life. Western and European views focus on the Frog’s three stages of development (egg, tadpole, fully formed amphibian) to symbolize resurrection and spiritual evolution. For these reasons it is also a common Christian symbol for the holy trinity and resurrection. It is often seen in Christian art to express this symbolism.

Frogs turn up in all cultures and are literally everywhere. This is largely because cultures observed Frogs laying enormous quantities of eggs, therefore making it a fertility symbol as well as a symbol of abundance. For coastal tribes in North America, the frog is associated with water and the moon, and is a symbol of prosperity and wealth. Many Native Americans called the fog “The Great Rain Maker” – Frog announced the end of winter. With the last snowfall of spring, the snowflakes touching the ground would turn into frogs announcing the salmon would be returning to the rivers.

The goddess of love and beauty – Aphrodite in Greece, Venus in Rome – considered the frog sacred. In Ancient Egypt the frog was the symbol of life and protector on the journey to the afterlife.  Some Egyptian gods were depicted with the head of a frog.

Frogs are also symbols of good luck – especially for travelers. Images or charms were worn during long voyages to assure safety (particularly across water).