August Tobacco Smoke Alarm Sounds on RJ Reynolds’ "Healthy Smoke and Sexy Cigarette" Advertising Campaigns

Announcement Exposes Manipulative Tobacco Industry Tactics With Winston and Camel Brand Cigarettes

Aug. 21 1997

Washington, DC - A healthy smoke? A sexy cigarette? These may seem like improbable combinations, but RJ Reynolds (RJR) has launched two new advertising campaigns using implied health claims and youthful seductiveness to sell more cigarettes. Today, the CAMPAIGN FOR TOBACCO-FREE KIDS sounded the August Smoke Alarm on the company’s bold new effort to target young smokers (Camel) and deceive adults and kids into believing that tobacco use is healthy (Winston). "RJR’s launch of the new ‘healthy’ Winston campaign is outrageous and truly deceptive," said Bill Novelli, CAMPAIGN president. "And after the welcome death of Joe Camel, RJR has found an even more alluring way to keep attracting youngsters to Camel cigarettes. These two new campaigns demonstrate why we need tough new tobacco advertising restrictions, like those contained in the proposed tobacco agreement." RJR’s new ad campaign for its Winston brand takes an absurd and deceptive approach, implying that its new additive-free cigarettes are healthier and somehow better for consumers. This campaign uses such lines as: "Winston Just Got Naked, No Additives, No Bull"; "Winston, Straight Up, No Additives, True Taste"; and "No Bull, No Additives, True Taste." One of RJR’s slick new "No Bull" magazine ads features a woman saying, "Until I find a real man, I’ll settle for a real smoke." Another features a blues musician and reads, "My blues are real, just like my smokes." And in a third version, a female auto racing car fan, seen cheering in the stands, says, "My name isn’t Sugar, so don’t add it to my smokes." "To imply that the new Winston cigarettes are even remotely healthy is ridiculous," said Novelli. "This sort of deceptive marketing makes current smokers and kids who might start smoking believe they can avoid the deadly harm of tobacco. The reality is, with or without additives, smokers will die from heart disease, cancer and other tobacco-related illnesses." RJR also has kicked off a new ad campaign for its Camel brand. Joe Camel and his allure to the youth market has been replaced by young, attractive and seductive models. Ads from both campaigns are appearing nationwide on billboards, buses, taxicabs and on the pages of many popular magazines with high youth readership, such as Sports Illustrated, Rolling Stone and Spin. In a recent Sports Illustrated issue, a young woman lights her cigarette below the words, "What You’re Looking For." "RJR has a long history of reaching the youth market," said Novelli. "The sexy new Camel ads are, if anything, more alluring to kids than even Joe Camel." Under the proposed tobacco agreement between state Attorneys General and the tobacco industry, any of the new Winston and Camel ads that include human images, as well as other tobacco ads that include people, would be vastly changed. No human or cartoon images would be permitted in any tobacco advertising. In addition, ads that appear in magazines with high youth readership would be restricted to black and white, text-only format. All outdoor advertising, including billboards, would be banned. "If we want to protect kids from deadly tobacco addiction, we must stop this type of advertising," said Novelli. "That’s why it’s vital that the we have the tough advertising and marketing restrictions contained in the tobacco agreement." The effect of tobacco advertising on kids is clear. According to a study published in the October 18, 1995 Journal of the National Cancer Institute, tobacco marketing has a greater influence in encouraging kids to take up smoking than exposure to parents or peers who smoke. And the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that 86 percent of kids who smoke prefer the three most heavily advertised brands, Camel being one of them. "It is unacceptable for RJR to have launched these seductive and deceptive new campaigns. We applauded when they announced the death of Joe Camel, but obviously the company’s intentions have not changed," said Novelli. The Tobacco Smoke Alarm is sounded monthly and is aimed at exposing the tobacco industry’s efforts to sell more of its products to children directly through clever marketing -- and indirectly through its efforts to buy political influence. The CAMPAIGN FOR TOBACCO-FREE KIDS can be reached by email at: TobaccoSmokeAlarm@TobaccoFreeKids.org. The CAMPAIGN FOR TOBACCO-FREE KIDS is the largest initiative ever undertaken to decrease youth tobacco use in the United States. Its mandate is to focus the nation's attention and action on keeping tobacco marketing from seducing children, and making tobacco less accessible to kids.

 

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