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Camel Case Study: Camel in the USA

Hausarbeit 2001 19 Seiten



1. Prologue

2. How the story of Camel started

3. U.S. Cigarette Market Overview

4. Camel Ads and Campaigns
4.1 Start-Up
4.2 Pleasure helps your Disposition
4.3 They are not for everybody
4.4 Joe Cool Camel Campaign
4.5 The New Era – What Are You Looking For; Mighty Tasty

5. Camel Today

6. Additions

7. Literacy

Camel in the United States of America

1. Prologue

My part of “Hausarbeit” is concerning the Camel cigarettes in its native country, the USA. The situation there was rather different than in Germany and I found it interesting to look closer at this point. Nevertheless, curiosity is also the fact, that the American Camel has since two years different owner than in the rest of the world. On the next sites I tried to analyse the American tobacco market (to get an impression how Camel “fits” there); to have a close look at the ad campaigns in various decades from the twenties till today. Additionally I prepared also the material of the U.S. Camel producer: the firm’s history, opinions, philosophy and marketing strategy, so that one can get a complex view of the whole problematic.

Camel is an authentic original and a brand that keeps up with the times. Introduced in 1913 as R.J.Reynolds Tobacco's first major cigarette brand and the American first nationally marketed cigarette, Camel is today one of the few cigarette brands that can celebrate many different decades of popularity. Camel's combination of a classic nature and contemporary flair reinforce the brand's unique position as a flavourful cigarette with a rich heritage, colourful personality and irreverent sense of humour.

Camel's marketplace positioning and personality have enabled the brand to continue to perform well in an intensely competitive marketplace. Overall, Camel is the fourth-largest brand in the United States.

2. How the story of Camel started?

In 1874 the tobacco factory R.J. Reynolds Tobacco was founded in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, USA. Its first product appeared on the market in 1913 an it was the CAMEL – the first American industrially produced cigarette. Camel - containing a blend of several different types of tobacco, a blend that would come to be called "the American blend". – was created personally by the company founder Richard Joshua Reynolds. It was the idea of Mr. Reynolds to name the cigarette “Camel”, so that it sounds exotic like Turkey, the country from where the tobacco leaves are coming. For the title design of the package was pictured the circus camel named Old Joe. But it is today unknown, who placed the pyramids to the background of the picture. The logo of Camel was prepared by the Richmond Lithographic Factory. The new designed brand Camel was expected to become the most favourite package in the cigarette history.

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The design of the

first packages of

Camel cigarettes


In 1931 Camel was the first cigarette brand packed in a moisture-proof, sealed cellophane outer wrap to preserve freshness. During the World War II the Camel cigarettes were brought by the American soldiers to Europe.

In 1958 the producer decided to innovate the design of the package and to move the pyramids away from the title picture. This decision was highly rejected by the Camel smokers. After this step the brand design of the Camel has never been tried to be changed anymore and has remained same for 88 years. Only the new product lines later became partly different design, but the major motive of the camel, palms and pyramids remained unchanged.

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This is the very interesting and important moment from the design and marketing aspect. Usually the firms are making innovations to refresh the market with the new ideas, which hopefully should bring higher turnover. Camel didn’t make this step and despite remained one of the main and the most stable components of the American cigarette market.

In the next decades Camel expanded its product line and brought to the market in 1969 Camel Filters, in 1979 it was Camel Mild, in 1983 Camel Light and in 1985 Camel Filters 100. All these products joined the corporate design of the former Camel and became the important part of the cigarette market.

3. U.S. Cigarette Market Overview


Attitudes toward smoking in the United States are becoming even negative over time. While the typical reactions on smoking in the 70´s was Not good for you, in the 80´s Bad for you and in the 90´s Bad for you and me, today’s attitude is represented by You have no right.

Owing to the latest market researches, there are said to be 45.1 million adult smokers in the United States, representing about one-fourth of the population over age 18. The biggest American tobacco manufacturer are Philip Morris (50,5% Retail Share of Market), R.J. Reynolds Tobacco (23,5%) and British American Tobacco (12.1%).

The most popular American cigarette brand is Marlboro (produced by Philip Morris) and is smoked by 38,5% smokers. Camel is the fourth largest brand with 12,5% of users. The average price for the cigarette package reached in the last year $ 2.96 in comparison to $1.75 in 1993. In recent years, cigarette sales in supermarkets have been declining, while sales in convenience/gas outlets and cigarette outlets have been increasing.


The position of the Camel on the U.S. tobacco market has been during last years relatively stable in comparison to the European (German) market , where its rates dropped. The reasons might be various. First of all, the times, in which Camel was trying to conquer the American tobacco market, was the time, when all the other cigarette brands were starting to launch . So the chances to assert were more or less equal. The German market was entered by Camel much later, in the 60´s when other brands (Marlboro) already stood the test and were stable brands. Camel made a big entry, but as the time went by, the popularity was dropping.

Secondly, while the brand in Europe tried to build up the “world of experience” and presented the campaigns from adventure heroes till teddy camel, what somehow seems to be too much, the American Camel depicted something else. The U.S. Camel was supposed to be an authentic, smooth tasting, premium quality brand for adult smokers who choose to express an irreverent, less serious attitude toward the everyday pressures of life. The commercial campaigns were also led differently than in Europe, even though they were several and various.


To write some words about the American smoker, we have to have a look at the history of the smoking in the States.

Since the beginning of the country, the government has "had its hand" in the production and promotion of the cigarette and the tobacco industry. How else the government has been able to finance almost every war USA has ever had? Without a doubt, it has been with the help of tax money raised from the sales of cigarettes and tobacco products. This is a long tradition, traceable as far back as the Revolutionary War. The revenue from tobacco laid the foundation for the country's economic rise and when it was young, the tobacco leaf was considered so valuable that it was accepted as legal tender and used to pay wages, debts and taxes.

Some years later tobacco has been attacked by society and it's medical pundits for many of the ills plaguing mankind. Yet, it has at the same time provided a substantial source of revenue to the state and Federal governments of the United States. We all know that being a cigarette smoker in today's world is not politically correct, but not so many years ago smoking was considered patriotic. Many of the country's greatest leaders were smokers themselves. Every major war has been followed by an enormous increase in the smoking of tobacco. Officers in command realized the importance of smoking as a means to lessen the strain their troops were constantly under and also as a way to pass times of idleness. For the troops, smoking was a panacea, reducing the stresses of battle and helping to combat loneliness. Great efforts were made to ensure a constant, steady supply and few soldiers returned home again without first becoming smokers.

In the 20th century also women were often seen smoking. In 1934 Eleanor Roosevelt, a cigarette smoker herself, was called the "first lady to smoke in public". In 1952 Reader´s Digest republished Roy Norr's "Cancer by the Carton," an article detailing the dangers of smoking. The effect of the article on cigarette sales was enormous. The following year, cigarette sales declined for the first time in over two decades. This was a very important milestone in the smoking.

In 1965 the Congress passed the Federal Cigarette Labelling and Advertising Act requiring the surgeon general's warnings on all cigarette packages. Five years later the Congress voted to ban all broadcast advertising. Later the Military stopped the distribution of free cigarettes in GI's rations.

Nowadays many anti-smoking programs are being sponsored and organized by the U.S. government. Many people believe that exactly that’s why the number of smokers in the States is declining. Nevertheless, the number of the teen smokers rose during last 10 years to the highest levels in nearly two decades.

So how is the American smoker? Without any doubts one can say that American smokers are conservative, they seldom change their cigarette brands. Concerning the promoting campaigns, they like the sensitive humour which has to be up-to-date. As far as every smoker is the individual himself, it is difficult to make any further general analysis of the American smoker.

4. Camel Ads and Campaigns

American Camel was not depicting “life of experience” as in Germany. The ad campaigns were led up to date. They depicted the brand up to the atmosphere and circumstances which America was at. The ads differ from each other, they represent the thoughts and positions of the people during various decades. While in the 30´s and 40´s it was very fashionable to have a cigarette in hand, also the characters on the ads were depicted with Camel in a hand. Some decades later nobody was anymore thinking to promote cigarette with seeing a famous personality smoking. Ads became different, more originally designed and made up, what also has to do with the life outlook of the society. On the next pages I am bringing some Camel ads, starting with the decade of 1920´s through the most controversial cigarette campaign ever – “The Joe Camel Campaign” and finishing with the recent campaign “Pleasure to Burn”. Unfortunately I didn’t manage to find any pictures from this latest campaign, just several descriptions, which hopefully can also help to make up an idea of this promotion. Nevertheless, let’s have a look at many faces of Camel.

4.1 The Start-Up – Camel at its beginnings

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In the first Camel ads one aim is to be followed: to point at the high quality of Camel cigarettes . In the beginning there were two types of ads : the ones depicting the box of cigarettes and the ones depicting people. These two ads are of the first type and are one of the first that promoted Camel in the 1920´s and 1930´s. The design is very simple but owing to the time they appeared, the commercial idea is very good. The ads depicting people were also very original and what is especially interesting, that in the States also the women were set to be target groups and appeared in the printed commercials.

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Later also a young couple appeared as a motive for Camel. Meanwhile the woman is wondering about the engaging ring she just got, the man is taking Camel cigarette out of the box. With the title “keen judgment” the authors are appointing at the specific quality awareness of the Camel smokers.

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ISBN (eBook)
1.8 MB
Institution / Hochschule
Universität der Künste Berlin – Institute for Communications
2002 (April)
1.7 (A-)
Camel Case Study Camel Design Management



Titel: Camel Case Study: Camel in the USA