Friday, December 16, 2005

Smokin' and drinkin'

The logic is flawless. RJReynolds' newest approach is "a grass-roots marketing campaign to associate Camel cigarettes with trendy cocktails — and encourage young people to drink." Because drinking leads to smoking. I can only assume the next phase involves an image-building promotional tie-in with Trojans.

But really: isn't all tobacco marketing "grass-roots?" It's not like the law allows these companies to pursue splashy, multi-media campaigns for a primetime audience. So their campaigns exist under the radar, starting at bars and events and growing into direct mail programs. If that seems pernicious, if that seems upsetting -- and it is for state attorneys general, public health advocates and most important Rob Reiner -- there is one alternative: allow cigarettes to advertise on TV. In a more public arena and with network pressure, wouldn't they feel obligated to tone it down? Go a little more tame, bland and ultimately forgettable?

Or am I drunk?


Swedish Girl said...

Tobacco companies seem to operate in a strange (Marlboro country-like) No Man's Land... I mean, topping off your customers isn't normally good business practice, but they don't seem to be doing too badly from is.

Isn't it quite funny how Camel does everything to be different from Marlboro? The Marlboro man surely wouldn't be seen dead with a cocktail in his hand... but camels obviously can't wait to get their hooves on a Margarita.

Irene Done said...

Ha! You're right. The Marlboro man probably does think the Camel is a real sissy.