Camel cigarettes return to magazine advertising after five years
A spokesperson for RJ Reynolds, the nation’s second-largest tobacco company, confirmed the return to print advertising, but did not elaborate on the company’s strategy.
“We advertise in a wide variety of headlines to communicate with a wide range of adult tobacco users,” said David Howard, senior communications director for parent company Reynolds American. “When it comes to brand marketing, you are always looking to evolve. “
RJ Reynolds stopped advertising Camel cigarettes in newspapers or consumer magazines in late 2007 after drawing criticism – and lawsuits – for a Rolling Stone ad that wrapped around a cartoon. In the same year, the company also came under scrutiny from some members of the United States House of Representatives over its Camel No. 9 brand cigarettes, which were intended for Women’s.
Since 2007, RJ Reynolds has been promoting smokeless tobacco products in print form, Howard said. Advertisements for the American Spirit brand of cigarettes, which is owned by Santa Fe Natural Tobacco Company, a subsidiary of Reynolds American, are also printed.
The five health organizations – the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, Legacy, the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, the American Heart Association and the American Lung Association – say the company’s latest efforts are attracting minors because the ads include magazines with a high number of young readers.
The groups made their case in a May 28 letter to the National Association of Attorneys General, which provides advice to state attorneys general on a variety of topics, including issues related to the landmark 1998 agreement with tobacco companies.
“RJ Reynolds cannot be allowed to get away with another marketing campaign that lures American children into a life-threatening addiction,” the group’s letter reads. Nine of the magazines named by the groups – Entertainment Weekly, ESPN The Magazine, Sports Illustrated, Rolling Stone, People, Glamor, InStyle, Us Weekly and Vogue – have a total teen readership of 12.9 million, according to the letter, citing Datas. from industrial researcher GfK MRI.
“Reynolds seems to put a ‘kick me’ sign on himself every time he makes a gesture like this,” said Peter Hamm of the Campaign for Tobacco Free Children. “They went off the beaten track after five years of obscurity to target a list of magazines that appeal to teenagers.”
Spokesmen for Time Inc. and Conde Nast, who publish several of the magazines, said Thursday evening that they would try to respond, but made no comment on Friday afternoon. A spokeswoman for Wenner’s Us Weekly and Rolling Stone did not respond to messages left for comment.
Magazines, which continue to face headwinds in print advertising, are free to accept advertising from tobacco companies. But the 1998 settlement between the four largest tobacco companies and 46 states in the United States, a pact known as the Master Settlement Agreement, created broad restrictions on the marketing of cigarettes, including language prohibiting the targeting of young people. In 2001, the state of California sued RJ Reynolds, alleging he violated the ban by placing ads in magazines with high teen readership. Three years later, RJ Reynolds settled with the state of California, agreeing to restrictions on his magazine ads with large numbers of teenage readers.
The restrictions, which RJ Reynolds’ Mr Howard said were in place before the settlement, say the company will only advertise in magazines where at least 85% of readers are 18 and over when data is available on readers over 12 years old. For magazines that only offer data on readers 18 and older, the company buys ads if the median audience age is 23 or older.
Lorillard, the third largest cigarette maker, has similar restrictions on its magazine advertising. The largest tobacco company in the United States, Philip Morris USA, a subsidiary of Altria, does not advertise tobacco in the press, according to the spokesperson.
Magazines continued to do well by tobacco companies despite the restrictions. The tobacco industry spent $ 125 million on measured media advertising in 2007, according to Kantar Media, including $ 104.2 million on consumer magazines. Last year, it spent $ 113.5 million on measured media, including $ 96.2 million on mainstream magazines. Reynolds American spent $ 31.9 million last year on all of its brands and products, Kantar said, including $ 2.5 million on Camel cigarettes and $ 29.2 million on American Spirit.
Advertising in measured media such as print media is only part of the tobacco companies’ marketing strategy, which includes promotional efforts such as retail displays, direct-to-consumer marketing, and events.