The tobacco companies always seem to know how to design advertising that provides seasonal appeal to their products and grabs your eye. After all, hooking you onto their product keeps them in business. Take a look at a Camel Snus ad from the summer of 2011. The smokeless tobacco direct mail coupon offer for Camel Snus made sure you were prepared for summer fun with their pouch of tobacco in your mouth.
The ad campaign showed a pouch of snus laying across a tin of their flavor “Frost,” looking like a pool and diving board, and inviting you to “dive into pleasure.” The mailing also asked if you wanted more coupons because, “you deserve ’em.” And it told you to take the snus “pleasure switch challenge” because you could “win instantly thousands of prizes, winners every day.”
Clever wording, bright colors, pictures of young men and women, and a contest made you want to jump in on the fun. The marketing people for Camel were good. They used a lot of blue on the mailer, making it look like pool water, and associating it with their cool “Frost” flavor. A picture they included with the offer showed a surfboard laying up against a palm. We got the idea, we could use this product in a pool or at the beach.
But then they go overboard. The picture also included a metal water tank with a neon-lighted palm on the side and a camel weather vane on top, pointing the way, we assumed, to the cool water or fresh taste. A older style bench car seat was placed in front of another palm…not sure why unless it was supposed to represent the beach and bring back memories of the old woody station wagons carrying surf boards.
The promotion was a very busy picture trying to tie in all the situations–the beach, pool or partying all night long in the city–that were just right for sticking a pouch of tobacco in your mouth.
If you didn’t quite get the meaning of the message by the pictures, the tobacco company hit you with plenty of double entendres. One was their trademark camel in the corner telling you to “break free” either from the cigarette that was tying you down or from your inhabitions holding you back from trying tobacco. Another tells you to “stay plugged in with Camel snus.” The juices of an old-fashioned plug of chewing tobacco have to be spit out, but this product is more cool and hip because you just swallow the juices. No one needs to know you have tobacco in your mouth. Just another way you can “break free” from old-fashioned tobacco. Sounds great, doesn’t it? But how can you break free if you are plugged in? The mailer also said that snus was your “summer unleashed.” Since you weren’t tethered to your cigarette, you didn’t have to worry about smoking bans.
In compliance with the government warnings, four prominent labels warning stated “this product can cause gum disease and tooth loss,” and one stated “this product is not a safe alternative to cigarettes.” All that “break free” and “diving into pleasure” comes at a cost.
Tobacco companies spend a great deal of time and money targeting and recruiting young people to use their product. Education and prevention are key components to helping students understand the dangers of tobacco use and to eliminate it from their lives. Florida teachers and guidance counselors can take our online tobacco prevention course and receive up to 60 teacher in-service credits teaching six lessons to their students. Visit our site to learn more at: http://www.tobaccopreventiontraining.org
Click here to see the ad at Trinkets & Trash