Shameless marketing to women: the "light and luscious" cigarette

Beauty in Seattle on 16 Mar 2007 at 1:30pm

The maker of Camel cigarettes, Reynolds American, has announced the launch of a new feminized version called Camel no. 9.  If you live in a major metro market, you may hear about the launch parties to celebrate the occassion. 

The marketing mind at Reynolds is Cressida Lozano, who told the NY Times that she likes to "focus on products that are 'wow'" and that add "fun" and "excitement" to the cigarette market.  Hence the introduction of pretty-in-pink Camel no. 9. 

Ms. Lozano's use of the term "fun", made me wonder how this foots with the Reynolds corporate values (yes, they have some).  In the words of the Reynolds Guiding Principles and Beliefs:

  • No tobacco product has been shown to be safe.
  • The best course of action for tobacco users concerned about their health is to quit.
  • Minors should never use tobacco products and adults who do not use or have quit using tobacco products should not start.
  • Individuals should rely on the conclusions of the U.S. Surgeon General, the Centers for Disease Control and other public health and medical officials when making decisions regarding smoking.

Hmm, no mention of fun or wow.  Wait, doesn't it sound like they think smoking is a really bad thing to promote?

The Camel positioning of no 9 as "light and luscious" is shameful. These are words I most associate with something healthy, low calorie, maybe a yogurt.  Not a cancer causing product that even the company states is unsafe.

Researcher and columnist David Ahrens agrees, and calls the marketing message by Camel no 9 loathsome:

These particular words are not picked at random but are the result of millions of dollars of research.

Why "light"? Because girls fear being overweight and want to be thin. Packaged in a sleek fuchsia or black package outlined with a thin red line, the product is designed to appeal to girls who view smoking as a sign of maturity.

Why "luscious"? To have the smoker believe that the cigarette will, as in the dictionary definition of the word, "arouse sexual desire." Through the repeated use of these words, the tobacco giant intends to convince girls that smoking Camel No. 9 will make them thin and sexually attractive.

 You tell me, do you find Camel no. 9 despicable?


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