Camel trying really hard to be cool with Williamsburg packaging

By David Kiefaber on Fri Nov 12 2010

Camel

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.

Does Big Tobacco seriously think it can turn the tide with 'snus'?

Posted on Wed Jun 3 2009

Snus

In case you haven't noticed, it's a rotten time to be a tobacco marketer. So bad that the government recently accused the tobacco giants of fraud and racketeering for positioning their light, mild and medium products as better for you than regular ol' smokes. Well, they aren't. Cigarettes are terrible for you no matter what (which the American Legacy Foundation does a great job reminding us in its latest round of its scared-straight "Truth" ads). That's why tobacco marketers are now pushing hard behind "snus." R.J. Reynolds is calling these "spitfree" pouches of smokeless tobacco "freedom for smokers." The only problem is, they "may cause gum disease and tooth loss." To turn smokers onto its Snus Frost and Snus Mellow, RJR is giving the product away free with a purchase of any tobacco product. You, of course, need the coupon that comes glued to its recent print ads. I just wonder how long it will be before the government brings the hammer down on the snus or American Legacy begins attacking them in ads. I even have a tagline ready: "You snus, you lose."

—Posted by Kenneth Hein


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