TV personality Jenny McCarthy, the most recent addition to ABC's "The View," is the new face of Blu e-cigarettes, the leading brand in the category.
Ms. McCarthy will star in the brand's latest TV commercial starting Aug. 5 and webisodes slated for release today, according to Blu, which Lorillard bought for $135 million in 2012.
In the ads, she credits the Blu e-cigarettes for restoring her confidence in her dating life and introduces the Blu eCig Starter Pack, a new product. The webisode is a longer, different version of the TV commercial, in which Ms. McCarthy goes into greater deal about the Starter Pack, a spokeswoman for Blu said.
Blu did the creative for the ads with input from Ms. McCarthy, who follows in the footsteps of actor Stephen Dorff, the subject of TV and print ads for the brand.
"As a smoker who is single, I was instantly drawn to e-cigarettes as a smoking alternative to better suit my activities on-set and my lifestyle off-set," Ms. McCarthy said in a statement released by Blu.
E-cigarettes are a booming business for tobacco companies. The e-cig industry is projected to roughly double in size this year to roughly $1 billion from $500 million in 2012, a Citibank report said.
TV networks and magazines are reaping increased ad dollars from the emerging market as the Federal Drugs Administration considers how to regulate the nascent e-cigarette industry. The FDA does not regulate e-cigarettes, making it possible for ads for the product to appear on TV -- a medium unavailable to tobacco advertisers since 1971.
Blu is the leading brand in the e-cigarette category, with a roughly 40% share of the market, according to a report from CLSA analyst Michael S. Lavery. Reynolds American introduced its own e-cigarette in May. Altria is rolling out its version this month.
The hiring of Ms. McCarthy could draw negative attention to the brand because of her outspoken views about vaccinations for children and autism. Ms. McCarthy, who says she has cured her son's autism, has said that childhood vaccinations can cause the condition, a claim that has been widely discredited by medical professionals.
"I don't think that it's their finest marketing hour," said Peter Hamm, of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids.
"I'm a little bit stunned that they would choose her as someone to look to for advice on how to reduce the risk in your life when it comes to tobacco products," he added.
E-cigarette makers have shied away from making health claims about their products, however, instead positioning the products as a viable alternative to traditional cigarettes.
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