Sporty cigarette "pro health" concept

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

An April, 1982 R.J. Reynolds memo presents an employee's idea to make a "sporty cigarette" for people who "buy" the advertising images that companies assign to certain brands. The writer suggests designing the filter to mimic the appearance of a referee's whistle or shirt, and suggests the brand name "Time Out" for the cigarette. He further suggests that a payoff for the industry of this brand would be associating smoking with exercise or sports activity "thereby, associat[ing] smoking with a pro-health concept." He further suggests if the idea catches on, the Company can eventually sponsor a runner in the Boston Marathon.

Quotes from the document:

Recently, I attended the seminar given by Dick Nordine and Doug Webber. I summarize their description of "cord" groups as people who "bought" the advertising image presented for a given cigarette. My thought is why not "generate" an image that would have appeal for a population segment that already exists, rather than "create" a segment. One such segment would be people who watch sporting events. Therefore:

Idea: Create a cigarette market segment for a "sporty" cigarette by combining advertising, packaging and cigarette design to reinforce an image for this "new" cigarette as being especially appropriate when watching sporting events.

Image: It would be enjoyed by people while watching sporting events -- any and all --at home, or in a stadium, big league or little league.

Package: The pack front could be a collage of sport symbols; the back could have short printed "sport" information; i.e., facts, questions, statistics, rules, personalities, sports history, tradition or logos; pictures, either of personalities or "shots" of stadiums, etc. The new idea would be for rotating "messages" and/or designs which would give sport information. (Some people would consider this "extra" value.) A fixed "sports" format could be chosen for the carton to aid the consumer in recognition.

Cigarette Design: The logo, printed on the tipping, could be a rotating symbol of sports; i.e., tennis racket, basketball net, scoreboard, baseball diamond, football, racing car, etc. (Tipping could be printed so each pack gets several different designs with periodic changes in the symbols used.) Special logos could be made for major sporting events; i.e., Olympics (five rings), World Series, Superbowl. These logos could be heavily printed and used in packs during a particular sport season for about one month.

Example of Special "Sporty " Cigarette Design: The cigarette paper and tipping could be striped, like a referee's shirt. Or, the tipping could be printed and synchronized with the making machine in such a way that when folded around the tipping would take on the appearance (color and design) of a referee's whistle. (An obvious name for such a cigarette is "Time Out".)

...Possible Major Payoff for Industry: Associate smoking with exercise or sports activity; thereby, associate smoking with a pro-health concept. If the idea catches on, maybe in a few years the Company could sponsor a runner in the Boston Marathon.[1]

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External resources


  1. R.J. Reynolds Long-Term Products Seminar Letter. 2 pp. April 21, 1982. Bates No. 512301470/1471