Feature movie-length Camel ad proposal

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This article is part of the Tobacco portal on Sourcewatch funded from 2006 - 2009 by the American Legacy Foundation.

In 1993, the R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company considered making a feature-length movie that would really be a "stealth" advertisement for Camel cigarettes. This was not to be an "infomercial," but an interactive movie with a fictional plot, similar to the "Rocky Horror Show." As RJR put it, "The challenge is to keep the plot fun and entertaining but to incorporate the product story without coming across as a 1 1/2 hour advertisement." Ideas for the theater accoutrements included hosting smoke breaks at intermissions and giving away free cartons of Camel cigarettes to movie-goers. RJR realized the danger of this movie-making pursuit, though, saying "Due to the sensitive nature of our product, distribution of this film must be handled with extreme caution..."

The best parts of this document are the plot ideas. In proposed plot #1, a small, amphibious team of "Antis" [anti-smoking advocates] kidnap Joe Camel from his Caribbean island resort in a technologically advanced sea craft. In plot idea #2, the health craze turns the world's population into a bunch of insane but physically-fit lunatics: "Plot Synopsis #2: ...is a farcical comedy about how absurd the anti-smoking environment has gotten and how the entire health craze running rampant in America could turn us all into a bunch of raving --but physically fit--lunatics." A caveat on using this plot says, "...This topic must be treated with extreme care due to the politically sensitive nature of our product and neither CAMEL nor R.J. Reynolds can appear to be making fun of the health risks associated with smoking."

RJR also stated its desire to keep the cost of producing the film down, and proposed a paltry $10 million to make the entire thing.

Title Camel the Movie. Project Brief.
Date 19930000
Type Report
Bates 513201848/1853
Collection RJ Reynolds
Pages 6
URL: http://legacy.library.ucsf.edu/tid/zph23d00