Research planning memorandum on some thoughts about new brands of cigarettes for the youth market

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

Research planning memorandum on some thoughts about new brands of cigarettes for the youth market

In this R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company marketing reserach report, Claude Edward Teague, Jr. of RJR's research department muses about how to attract "pre-smokers" or "learners" to smoking in a marketplace where the company cannot do so overtly: "It should be said that we are presently, and I believe unfairly, constrained from directly promoting cigarettes to the youth market...Realistically, if our Company is to survive and prosper, over the long term, we must get our share of the youth market. In my opinion, this will require new brands tailored to the youth market..."

Teague goes on to discuss how RJR can exploit the psychological needs of youngsters by developing a new cigarette brand tailored specifically for this age group:

Pre-smokers learn to smoke to identify with and participate in shared experiences of a group of associates. If the majority of one's closest associates smoke cigarettes, then there is strong psychological pressure, particularly on the young person, to identify with the group, follow the crowd...This provides a large incentive to begin smoking...Thus a new brand aimed at the young smoker must somehow become the 'in' brand and its promotion should emphasize togetherness, belonging and group acceptance, while at the same time emphasizing individuality and 'doing one's own thing.

RJR considers how cigarettes can be used to help enhance the "fragile, developing self-image of the young":

C. Self-Image Enhancement - The fragile, developing self-image of the young person needs all of the support and enhancement it can get. Smoking may appear to enhance that self-image in a variety of ways. If one values, for example, an adventurous, sophisticated, adult image, smoking may enhance one's self-image....

RJR also discusses how health education, and even warning labels, can serve to actually drive youngsters towards smoking:

The smoking-health controversy does not appear important to the group because, psychologically, at eighteen, one is immortal. Further, if the desire to be daring is part of the motivation to start smoking, the alleged risk of smoking may actually make smoking attractive. Finally, if the 'older' establishment is preaching against smoking, the anti-establishment sentiment discussed above would cause the young to be defiant and smoke. Thus, a new brand aimed at the young group should not in any way be promoted as a "health" brand, and perhaps should carry some implied risk. In this sense, the warning label on the package may be a plus.

Author Claude Edward Teague, Jr.
Date 19730202
Bates TIOK0034691/4702
Pages 12

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