Boy Band on the Cover, Cigarette Ads… | Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids
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Boy Band on the Cover, Cigarette Ads Inside – Guess Who’s the Target?

August 13, 2013

Image of Glamour Magazine Cover featuring popular boy band One Direction

Tobacco giant R.J. Reynolds claims it doesn’t market cigarettes to kids. But the company’s actions continue to show otherwise.

The August 2013 issue of Glamour magazine features the world’s most popular boy band, One Direction, on the cover. Inside the magazine, and placed just before the story and photos on the band, there’s a huge, three-page spread of ads for R.J. Reynolds’ Camel cigarettes.

The magazine’s cover no doubt is attracting many teens and tweens who make up the band’s fan base, exposing them to messages encouraging them to smoke. Glamour has nearly 1.1 million teen readers, according to GfK MRI, a consumer research firm. Variations of the ad have also appeared in other magazines with high youth readership, including Rolling Stone, which has nearly 1.3 million teen readers.

The new ads continue R.J. Reynolds’ aggressive return to marketing its cigarettes in magazines for the first time in five years. Starting in April, the company launched ads for its Camel Crush cigarettes in at least 33 magazines, including many with large youth readership. Publicly available data from GfK MRI shows a total teen readership (12-17 years old) of 12.9 million for just nine of these magazines – Entertainment Weekly, ESPN the Magazine, Sports Illustrated, Rolling Stone, People, Glamour, InStyle, US Weekly and Vogue. The total teen readership for all magazines would be millions more.

In May, the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids and other public health groups urged state attorneys general to investigate whether the ad campaign violates a provision of the 1998 state tobacco settlement that prohibits tobacco companies from taking “any action, directly or indirectly, to target Youth within any Settling State in the advertising, promotion or marketing of Tobacco Products.”

R.J. Reynolds has a long history of marketing Camel cigarettes to kids, most notoriously with the Joe Camel cartoon character. Camel is one of the three most popular cigarette brands among youth smokers, with 15.1 percent preferring Camel, according to the 2011 National Survey on Drug Use and Health.

Take a look at the magazine cover and the ads. Who do you think R.J. Reynolds is targeting?