May 22nd, 2007

RJR's Camel Signature Draws Fire

By Mike Beirne
Brandweek

An anti-smoking advocate is calling the launch of Camel Signature cigarettes an example of why Congress should grant the Food and Drug Administration authority to oversee the manufacturing, sale and marketing of tobacco products.

“RJR’s new flavored cigarettes are the latest in a long line of tobacco industry efforts to circumvent specific restrictions on their behavior and continue to engage in marketing that appeals to children,” said Matthew Myers, president of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, in a statement to be released today. The cigarettes come in Mellow, Robust, Frost and Infused flavors.

An RJR representative said the product fully complies with an October 2006 settlement signed with several state attorneys general. In that agreement, RJR said it would not use language describing fruit, candy or alcohol flavors when marketing cigarettes in venues that are not age-restricted.

The product is advertised only in print magazines where the subscriber base is at least 85 percent adult. Also, event marketing and sampling will occur solely in bars and nightclubs where patrons are at least of minimum drinking age, the rep said.

RJR turned to consumers to create Camel Signatures [Brandweek, May 7]. More than 30,000 adult smokers answered a direct mail invitation last June to be part of the Camel Brand team.

For the next six months participants tried samples that were mailed to them. They logged onto a closed Web site to weigh in on flavors and pack designs for the new line extension.

Print, via Kaart Marketing, Chicago, and sampling at adult venues began this month. Signature ad spending was not disclosed. Overall, Camel spent slightly less than $15 million last year in U.S. media after spending $45 million in 2005, per TNS Media Intelligence.

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