It’s hard to believe, but many decades ago, cigarette smoking was considered a women’s thing, while men preferred the harsh taste of real tobacco, smoking pipe tobacco, cigars and rolling their own smokes.
However, cigarettes were very easy to manufacture and smoke, so tobacco companies were eager to developing marketing strategies, to increase the popularity of cigarettes not only among women, but mainly among men. And soon this strategy was found. It was using eternal male values – courage, passion for freedom and dignity. One may say that it’s an ordinary appeal used by today’s advertisers, yet, Camel cigarette brand was the pioneer in this area.
The Rise of Camel
The history of Camel dates back to 1913, the time of constant experiments by tobacco companies, as smoking was growing to become a fashionable habit, and tobacco firms were in the process of developing new tobacco products to attract audience. Among the most popular tobacco products were little and tiny cylinders wrapped in paper, and named cigarettes, and exactly they drawn the attention of Richard Reynolds, the owner of RJ Reynolds Tobacco Company.
The company, a recognized maker of high quality pipe tobacco, took the task seriously. First, it purchased Red Camel trademark, and then, reduced the name to Camel.
Some marketing experts believe Reynolds chose the image of Camel, as the 1920s was the time when the passion for the Oriental culture and Middle East was record high in the United States. No one can now say for sure whether it was the ancient Arab tales which inspired Richard Reynolds, but the way he run advertising campaign for the brand will definitely remain a legend.
“Camels are coming”
Today, PR managers take advantages of thousands of strategies intended to promote their products and services, but in early decades of the 20th century, the marketing campaign used by RJR was a genuine sensation. After deciding that Camel will be the brand’s mascot, RJ Reynolds published mysterious adverts in major U.S. newspapers couple of days before the nationwide launch of Camel cigarettes.
“Camels”– claimed one of those adverts. As people were guessing what can that mean, second advert followed. The message “Camels are coming” shocked people, as they imagined they have to be ready for an outbreak of wild camels. The next advert more resembled a warning – “Tomorrow there will be more Camels in the city than in Asia and Africa combined!”. And while some were packing to escape the invasion, others find out the truth next day – “Camel cigarettes are here now! –announced the final advertisement.
Well, with such groundbreaking marketing campaign Camel brand was destined to become a success.
From the day it was launched, Camel brand effectively employed the spirit of freedom in its appeal to smokers and reinforced the passion for adventures with its advertising slogans, including “It’s a whole new world”, and “I’d walk a mile for Camels”. The cigarettes were even given to soldiers during the World War II, so an image of a brave soldier with a pack of Camel was one of the most common images even in Hollywood.
But RJ Reynolds wasn’t the only tobacco giant to make use of eternal male values. In 1954, Marlboro, the future major rival of Camel, was launched, accompanied by the vivid advertising campaign picturing brave Marlboro cowboys in beautiful Marlboro Country. U.S. smokers were charmed by the campaign which utilized the already-mythological image of American cowboys.
In order to retain smokers, Camel launched the popular Camel Trophy – display of power, courage and confidence for really tough guys.
Adventures are over?
Yet, in spite of all the efforts, Camel was not able to maintain its leading position. In the end of 20th Century, the values changed as men now were more attracted by the comfort and luxury, then by the nature’s conqueror image.
In 1999 Reynolds American sold the rights to market Camel brand outside the USA to Japan Tobacco International, which decided that Camel brand can only be saved by total re-branding. Thus, the tobacco giant oriented the marketing campaign at rich heritage and great traditions the brand offers, and changed the packs, in order to make them look more exclusive and elite.
Today, Camel is the 5th best-selling brand across the world, as smokers indeed consider it to be a legend of the industry, with premium quality and bracing taste.