No longer able to use well-known
advertising symbols like Joe Camel, Camel cigarettes has adopted a
"citiesâ€ campaign, decorating packages with images from Seattle,
Austin, San Francisco, Las Vegas, and other trendy American cities.
But the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids
is crying foul, calling the campaign an effort to make
Camel cigarettes cool, fun and rebellious - and appealing to kids.
The group said it is reacting to parent
company RJR's announcement that it will sell limited edition cigarette
packs with the city names in December and January.
is deeply disturbing that RJR is using the good name and hard-earned
reputation of these great American cities to market deadly and
addictive cigarettes, especially in a way that blatantly appeals to
children,â€ said Matthew L. Myers, president of the Campaign for
Tobacco-Free Kids. "Certainly the citizens and leaders of these
cities do not want to be associated with a product that kills more
than 400,000 Americans every year. RJR showed truly shameless
disregard for the death and suffering its products cause by calling
this campaign a 'celebration' of the locations involved.â€
companies are prohibited from promoting their products on television
and some other media, but not on the Internet. The activist group
says RJR launched the campaign online and with direct mail. In the
"Break Free Adventure" campaign, the Camel brand "visits"
10 different U.S. locations over a 10-week period. Visitors to the
Camel web site can win prizes by reading a clue and guessing where
Camel is that week.
week, a new package design for Camel cigarettes is unveiled that
features the name of that week's location and some of its iconic
images. Other locations include Route 66; Bonneville Salt Flats,
UT; Sturgis, SD; and Winston-Salem, NC.
group says the locations involved have several qualities in common,
including an association with independent music, fun times, rebellion
and freedom of the road.
associating Camel cigarettes with these locations and their trendy
reputations, RJR is continuing its longstanding efforts to make the
Camel brand appealing to youth,â€ Myers said. "It truly is the Joe
Camel campaign all over again. It echoes many of the
youth-appealing themes of the Joe Camel campaign, in which the
now-banned cartoon camel was often depicted with fast cars and
motorcycles or having fun at parties.â€
Campaign called on RJR to immediately end the marketing campaign and
withdraw its plans to introduce the special edition cigarette packs.
The group said it is also appealing to state attorneys general to
investigate whether the promotion violates the 1998 state tobacco
settlement's prohibition on tobacco marketing that targets children.
group also said it wants the government to step up the implementation
of proven measures to reduce tobacco use, including effective
regulation of tobacco products and marketing, the graphic cigarette
warnings unveiled this week by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration;
well-funded tobacco prevention and cessation programs nationally and
in every state; higher tobacco taxes; and smoke-free workplace laws.