RJR retires 'Joe Camel', starts new ad campaign

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After a nine-year run, R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. is retiring its embattled Joe Camel character from advertising and in-store promotion programs. RJR said it will replace the "Joe" campaign with ads themed "What you're looking for" that have been testing in select magazines for months. Creative uses the stylized camel image from the cigarette pack. The new campaign, also from Mezzina/Brown, New York, uses outdoor beginning this week and moves into more magazines in August.

RJR indicated the decision wasn't made because of the Federal Trade Commission's investigation of the Joe Camel campaign. Instead, the company cited "variety" as the reason for the switch. The change also puts RJR closer in line with marketing restrictions in the pending tobacco agreement that ban the use of cartoon characters.

President Clinton issued a statement saying, "I am glad RJR has finally taken this step today and I hope other companies will follow suit ... I will keep fighting until the days of marketing tobacco to our children are over."

Copyright July 1997, Crain Communications Inc.

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