A Camel in a Skirt Still a Femme Fatale

R.J. Reynolds caused a stir recently by unveiling new female-targeted Camel cigarettes, "Camel No. 9." Camel cigarettes have for years been targeted at the "virile segment" -- male smokers whom RJR thinks respond to ads that feature pictures of macho men climbing mountains, fording rivers and such. RJR's targeting of women is not new, however. They have intensely studied women for decades, even to the point of hiring a female psychophysiologist to determine the effects of the menstrual cycle on the "positive aspects of smoking specific to women." RJR's "Project VF" (for "Virile Female") targeted a new cigarette brand toward less-educated, low income or unemployed women who tend to wear blue jeans, whose favorite TV characters are "bitches" and who like to attend tractor pulls and monster truck rallies. This led to "Dakota" brand cigarettes, since discontinued. Women from around the country wrote to RJR to protest the brand, but RJR didn't learn from all the offense it generated. Camel No. 9, just as offensive, uses pink packaging and flowery ads, which will run in Cosmopolitan, Flaunt, Glamour, Vogue and W., to once again target women.