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Cipollone v. Liggett Group

Joe Camel And The Advertising Controversy

In 1987 Camel revived its sagging image with what would become one of the most controversial ad campaigns of the twentieth century. Joe, the cartoon Camel, was a suave, witty figure who played pool and often found himself surrounded by beautiful women. His image helped Camel win consumers; but he also acquired enormous name recognition among children--a 1991 survey, for instance, found that six-year-olds were as likely to recognize Joe Camel as they were Mickey Mouse. On 10 July 1997, manufacturer R. J. Reynolds ended the campaign amidst growing pressure.

Though the appeal to children certainly is a serious matter, Barbara Dority, in a January, 1997 Humanist article raised a number of First Amendment objections to the current wave of campaigns against cigarette advertising. Like other commentators who took a similar position, Dority did not defend smoking, but rather the right of individuals to do it, and of companies to promote it. Besides, Joe Camel's stateside campaign may not be the worst offender where children are concerned: the September 1998 issue of Sales & Marketing Management reported that Camel ads had been posted in classrooms in Poland, and that an ad for Marlboro in Cambodia featured eight-year-old girls.

Additional topics

Law Library - American Law and Legal InformationNotable Trials and Court Cases - 1981 to 1988Cipollone v. Liggett Group - Significance, Cippolone Dies, But Her Case Proceeds, Related Cases, Joe Camel And The Advertising Controversy