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This is absolutely APALLING !!!!!!

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A New Camel Brand Is Dressed to the Nines


THE next time R. J. Reynolds Tobacco asks smokers to walk a mile for a Camel, watch how many of them are in high heels.

Reynolds, eager to increase the sales of its fast-growing Camel brand among women, is introducing a variety aimed at female smokers. The new variation, Camel No. 9, has a name that evokes women’s fragrances like Chanel No. 19, as well as a song about romance, “Love Potion No. 9.”

But don’t look for a Jo Camel to join Old Joe the dromedary on Camel packages, displays or posters. Rather, Camel No. 9 signals its intended buyers with subtler cues like its colors, a hot-pink fuchsia and a minty-green teal; its slogan, “Light and luscious”; and the flowers that surround the packs in magazine ads.

For decades, Camel has been a male-focused cigarette; only about 30 percent of Camel buyers are female. By comparison, for competitive brands like Marlboro and Newport, women comprise 40 percent to 50 percent of customers. Almost half of adult smokers are women, so that limited Camel’s potential.

Wall Street analysts praise the introduction of Camel No. 9, in regular and menthol flavors, as a further step by the R. J. Reynolds, a unit of Reynolds American, toward a new marketing strategy. The goal is to refocus on the biggest, most popular — and most profitable — brands, which include Kool as well as Camel.

But critics decry the new Camel as yet another effort to single out women for smoking pitches, a tactic they trace back to the 1920s when American Tobacco urged, “Reach for a Lucky instead of a sweet” to promote Lucky Strike cigarettes.

“The sad part is, this product is just more of the same,” said Cheryl G. Healton, president and chief executive of the American Legacy Foundation in Washington. The foundation oversees the national antismoking “Truth” campaign aimed at youth that is financed by money from Reynolds American and the other major cigarette marketers.

“More women die of lung cancer than breast cancer, by a wide margin,” Ms. Healton said, yet the tobacco companies still “want to increase their market share among women.”

R. J. Reynolds sells two brands, Capri and Misty, aimed at women. A tiny competitor, the Vector Group, sells Eve, and the principal rival to Reynolds, the Altria Group, which owns Philip Morris, pioneered the category in 1968 with the Virginia Slims brand.

Virginia Slims, pitched for decades with a campaign that carried the theme “You’ve come a long way, baby,” is the largest brand directed at women.

Research that began early last year found “female adult smokers mostly weren’t Camel smokers,” said Cressida Lozano, vice president for marketing of the Camel brand at Reynolds American in Winston-Salem, N.C., because, they said, “they didn’t feel Camel had a product for them.”

“What we’re about is giving adult smokers a choice,” Ms. Lozano said, “with products we believe are more appealing than existing products.” The introduction of Camel No. 9 is part of plans to “focus on products that are ‘wow,’ ” she added, “that add fun and excitement to the category.”

Bonnie Herzog, an analyst at Citigroup who follows the tobacco industry, described Reynolds American as “very good at innovation” — bringing out variations of existing brands with new packages, flavors, styles and other twists on familiar offerings.

There is a risk of cannibalization, Ms. Herzog said, in that so-called line extensions like Camel No. 9 could take shelf space — and sales — from the almost 30 other varieties of Camel.

But “if you can steal from your competitor, a Virginia Slims,” she added, a new variety “would make sense” and “could be quite successful.”

One reason for Reynolds American to introduce the new cigarette as part of the brand family of Camel, which dates to 1913, is that the many restrictions on marketing cigarettes make it more difficult for an all-new brand name to break through. That is why Camel No. 9 is joining a Camel lineup that includes newcomers like Camel Wides, Camel Turkish Gold, Kamel Special Lights and Camel 99s.

“We tested several different names among adult female smokers,” said Brian Stebbins, senior marketing director at R. J. Reynolds, and Camel No. 9 had “a lot of appeal for being premium and sophisticated.”

The “9” is meant to suggest “dressed to the nines, putting on your best,” Mr. Stebbins said, rather than a perfume or a song.

R. J. Reynolds is working with two of its longtime agencies to introduce Camel No. 9, Agent 16 in New York and Gyro Worldwide in Philadelphia. The company will not disclose spending for the introduction, but estimates range from $25 million to $50 million.

Reynolds American will sponsor promotional events for the new Camel in large markets around the country and promote the brand in a variety of other ways, like giving away packs at nightclubs, distributing cents-off coupons and running ads in magazines, including Cosmopolitan, Flaunt, Glamour, Vogue and W.

Ms. Healton at the antismoking foundation said she worried about ads in Cosmopolitan and Glamour because both have large numbers of young readers. That means R. J. Reynolds is “looking for initiation, appealing to young girls to up their market share,” she said, as well as hoping that older smokers will switch to Camel No. 9 from other brands.

Aiming tobacco ads at women is a longtime strategy. Documents from the files of the tobacco companies, released in 1998, indicated they had studied female smoking habits through research projects with names like “Tomorrow’s Female,” “Cosmo” and “Virile Female.”

Decades ago, a sultry woman cooed, “Blow some my way” to a man smoking Chesterfield cigarettes in magazine ads from the old Liggett & Myers Tobacco Company. Ads for Chesterfield, Camel, Lucky Strike, Old Gold, Philip Morris and other mainstay brands featured female celebrities like Lucille Ball, Marlene Dietrich, Risë Stevens and Barbara Stanwyck.

Even Wilma Flintstone smoked, in animated commercials for Winston cigarettes that appeared during “The Flintstones.” The last cigarette commercial to be broadcast on American television, on Jan. 1, 1971, was for Virginia Slims.

One of the most famous moments in marketing took place in 1929, when Edward L. Bernays, widely considered the father of public relations, alerted newspapers that women would be smoking in public, during the Easter parade on Fifth Avenue, to promote “equality of the sexes.” He did not reveal he was paid for his “torches of freedom” effort by American Tobacco, the maker of Lucky Strike, which sought to encourage women to smoke.

I saw this in readers Digest today as a bad marketing idea and campaign. AGREE WITH THAT

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