RJ Reynolds to stop print ads next year
By Jocelyn Noveck
November 28, 2007
NEW YORK (AP) — The R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., which has
been under intense pressure from anti-smoking groups and
members of Congress over print ads for its cigarettes,
said Tuesday it would not advertise its brands in
newspapers or consumer magazines next year.
The company had been criticized sharply for both its
colorful and feminine Camel No. 9 ads, which appeared in
fashion magazines and were seen as cynically aimed at
young women, and also for a recent ad in Rolling Stone.
In that ad, four pages of Camel cigarette ads bookended
Rolling Stone's own material on independent rock music,
which was presented in a cartoon-like format. That
angered anti-smoking advocates, who said it appeared the
whole thing was a Camel ad — and that it recalled the
old "Joe Camel" cartoons that were banned because they
appeared aimed at children.
R.J. Reynolds spokeswoman Jan Smith said the decision,
first reported Tuesday in the Winston-Salem Journal, had
been made sometime before October and was unrelated to
the Rolling Stone controversy.
In a telephone interview, Smith called the move "an
effort by the company to enhance and sharpen the
effectiveness and efficiency of its marketing programs."
She did, however, say the company had taken into
account, at least in part, the protests over the Camel
No. 9 ads.
"Obviously tobacco industry issues are in mind with
every decision we make," Smith said. "A result of this
is there should be less controversy over cigarette
advertising in magazines and newspapers, because we
won't be doing it."
The Washington-based Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids,
which has long protested the Camel ads, called the
company's decision "more a strategy to deflect criticism
than a real change in marketing."
Matthew Myers, president of the group, said it was
unfortunate that R.J. Reynolds had not committed to
permanently stop print advertising. Smith said the
company, based in Winston-Salem, N.C., would make
decisions about future years at a later time.
Myers also said the company has far to go to curtail
egregious marketing practices, which include promotions
at bars and nightclubs.
"What they've done is just to limit the ads that have
prompted the fiercest criticism, because they are the
most visible," Myers said in a telephone interview. He
noted the company is still engaging in direct mail
advertising, heavy promotion at retail outlets, and
price promotion "for the brands kids like most."
The Camel No. 9 ads, launched early this year, appear on
thick, shiny paper in fuchsia or teal and are adorned
with images of roses and lace. A group of Congress
members, led by Rep. Lois Capps, D-Calif., have been
urging women's magazines such as Cosmopolitan, Vogue and
Glamour to stop accepting the ads, saying they threaten
the health of the teenagers and young women who form a
large part of their readership.
Capps on Tuesday called the Reynolds decision a "token
concession" that was "a day late and a dollar short."
In fact, the print ads account for only a tiny portion
of what the tobacco industry spends on marketing. But
they've been notable because they often appear in
magazines side by side with articles promoting women's
Print ads for tobacco are banned in a number of
countries, including throughout Europe, but legal in the
United States. Tobacco advertising was banned from radio
and TV long ago, and more recently from billboards.
A major tobacco report issued earlier this year by the
Institute of Medicine, a branch of the National Academy
of Sciences, recommended that print ads be restricted to
black and white text only — no images.
A number of magazines refuse to accept tobacco ads. A
few are Self, Men's Health and Money, according to the
Tobacco-Free Periodicals Project.