A more than 20-year-old document that details a client meeting at Tatham-Laird & Kudner in Chicago is among the material released last week that reportedly shows R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. has been targeting underage smokers illegally.
U.S. Rep. Henry Waxman (D., Calif.) and lawyers in a California case that challenged RJR's marketing released 80 documents gathered in preparation for a case the marketer instead settled.
Rep. Waxman and San Diego attorney Patrick Coughlin suggested the Tatham memo is important because it shows that RJR was wrong when it said Claude Teague, an RJR researcher who wrote that the company needed to go after the youth market, wasn't involved in marketing.
In the memo written June 1974 by John Donati, Mr. Teague was said to be among RJR officials briefing the ad agency -- now Euro RSCG Tatham -- on technical developments that could be used to develop new brands for marketing.
Most of the documents were either internal RJR documents or research reports done for RJR. Rep. Waxman and Mr. Coughlin said the materials depict RJR executives seeking ways to halt the slide of its Camel and Winston brands, and looking at rival Philip Morris USA's success in wooing new smokers.
Ad agency memos were the backup for some of the charges, and other shops' materials include media plans from Ogilvy & Mather, Toronto, and creative ideas from Trone Advertising, Winston-Salem, N.C.
A Nov. 27, 1989, memo from Charlee Taylor-Hines at Young & Rubicam, New York, describes the work going on to reinvent the Camel brand using Joe Camel and the results of focus-group testing.
"Of all the executional approaches, `Leader of the pack' was the consistent favorite across all groups. It combined the elements favored in the current campaign -- Camel as hero, bright colors, simple yet involving scenarios -- but also adds a stronger sense of Joe being more involved in the action/adventure. There was also an element of Joe as the rebel, it reads."
A Jan. 16, 1964, memo from William Esty Co., offers to do research on several subjects, including teen-age smoking, and a 1971 letter from that agency notes it had begun talking to teen-agers 14 and up for one study.