Teen Girls and the Brand Called Camel No. 9
Sick Ad Campaign Said to Target Kids
by Claire Miller, age 17
In 1998, tobacco companies agreed to stop targeting kids. The Master Settlement Agreement, or MSA, forbids tobacco companies from using cartoons in ad campaigns to appeal to children. However, research shows that new advertisements depicting attractive and fashionable young adults smoking have actually a much greater appeal to teens.
So it is with a brand called Camel No. 9.
Launched in 2007, the ad campaign for Camel No. 9 cigarettes has found quite a bit of success among girls ages 12 to 16. This is according to a study of 1,036 teens published online in the journal Pediatrics. Another study shows that about 80 percent of today’s smokers start before they are 18.
To aid in their ad campaign Camel launched promotional giveaways including berry-flavored lip balm, purses, wristbands, and cell-phone jewelry. Industry watchers say Camel No. 9 marketing was quite successful, particularly among young women and teen girls.
Cheryl Healton, president of the American Legacy Foundation, a strong anti-smoking group, co-authored a study to determine how aware teenagers were of cigarette brands. The study found that in 2008, 22 percent of girls listed a Camel ad as their favorite cigarette ad. The study also found that non-smoking teens were 50 percent more likely to pick up the habit if they could name a favorite cigarette ad.
Tom Glynn of the American Cancer Society explains that cigarettes ads don’t need to use cartoons to appeal to the forbidden younger audience. Despite Camel’s obvious flare for attracting young smokers, the makers of Camel cigarettes, R.J. Reynolds, still deny targeting kids.
[Sources: USA Today; Wall Street Journal]