Seattle none too happy to be in Camel's new ad campaign, either

By David Kiefaber on Tue Dec 7 2010


Looks like Brooklyn's borough leaders aren't the only ones annoyed with R.J. Reynolds' new cityscape packaging for Camel. Seattle isn't happy that it's part of the cigarette brand's hipster scavenger hunt, either. Washington Gov. Chris Gregoire says she was "alarmed and disappointed at R.J. Reynolds' new marketing campaign which exploits the name and image of Seattle to recruit young smokers." He should be more offended by Camel's description of Seattle, which is referred to as the "home of grunge, a coffee revolution and alternatives who'll probably tell you they're happy when it rains," followed by some gibberish about "the spirit of our Gold Rush ancestors." I don't know what out-of-touch cat lady wrote that copy, but Seattle hasn't been suspended in time since 1994. Also, San Francisco's Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids is ragging on RJR for its inclusion of the Haight. This is something the company should have expected and planned ahead for—not only did they look clueless before, they look like jerks now for continuing the campaign amid so many understandable complaints. They'd better figure out some kind of damage control before an offended city government does more than blow smoke.

Camel trying really hard to be cool with Williamsburg packaging

By David Kiefaber on Fri Nov 12 2010


R.J. Reynolds has been successful at marketing to children, however indirectly, but its efforts to hook those twentysomething and older are usually pathetic and weird. Its latest idea—putting the skylines of famous hipster spots like Williamsburg, Brooklyn, on Camel cigarette packaging—is pandering to the youth in ways that even Tom Wolfe would laugh at. The promotional material includes classic lines like, "It's about last call, a sloppy kiss goodbye and a solo saunter to a rock show in an abandoned building," and promises "serious street cred" for anyone who responds to their new packaging. Do they really expect this to work? People who aren't already hipsters tend to hate them (sometimes irrationally), and hipsters are by and large freeloaders who will smoke anything. Brand loyalty isn't something they engage in on any measurable scale. On the other hand, Brooklyn's reaction wasn't any better. Borough president Marty Markowitz responded to this in the lamest way possible, remarking that "when we say that Williamsburg and Brooklyn are smokin', we mean smokin' hot—not smokin' cigarettes!" Great. Any resident smoker under 35 who hears that is going to switch to Camels now just to piss him off.



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