The key to big sales is hype and popularity, supported by advertising. The three most recognized brands – Marlboro, Camel, and Lucky Strike – have all been supported by big advertising campaigns.
After teasing the public for several months, RJ Reynolds finally released Camel cigarettes – the first of the modern cigarettes. Competitors scrambled to catch up with the phenomenal success of Camels, with catchy campaigns of their own.
Because of their dominant market share, Camels were included in troops’ ration packs during World War I. This increased public recognition, boosting sales of the cigarettes further. After the war, the classic “I’d Walk a Mile for a Camel” slogan was released.
However, catchy slogans would never match the effectiveness of a simple cartoon, Joe Camel. First used in 1972 French advertising, then in 1987 USA advertising, Joe was a hit with the public. The Camel brand recognition had reached an all-time high with adults, as well as children.
In 1997, the Joe Camel campaigns were permanently retired. Over the years, various groups had protested against Joe because too many children could recognize the character. Their argument was that the familiar cartoon was encouraging children to smoke.
Lucky Strike Cigarettes
Launched in 1916, Lucky Strikes were produced as competition to the popular Camel cigarettes. Initially aimed at women, Lucky Strikes were endorsed by popular female movie stars and singers. Later, campaigns like “Reach for a Lucky instead of a sweet” hinted that cigarettes could help with weight loss.
Lucky Strike’s sales, like Camel’s before them, were boosted by involvement in the war. During World War II, metals used the packaging ink were needed for the war effort. The green and gold packaging was replaced by white with a red bull’s eye, and the new slogan proudly announced that “Lucky Strike Green Has Gone To War.”
Marlboro’s initial target market was women. After years of unsuccessful attempts at gaining a strong market hold, the brand was pulled from the shelves.
However, Marlboro relaunched in the 1950s, this time targeted at men. The main advertising feature was the Marlboro Men. Images of tough outdoorsy men persuaded many to switch cigarette brands.
The most popular of the Marlboro Men was the Cowboy, and in a campaign overhaul in 1964, all other Men were dropped in favor of the Cowboy. The slogan, “Come to where the flavor is.
That campaign led to skyrocketing sales, and by the early 70’s, Marlboro was the most popular cigarette brand. Today, Marlboro is still the market leader, with phenomenal sales in comparison to the No 2 position
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