« Knockoff News 50 | Main | Happy Year of the Pig! »

Joe Camel's Sex Change

The newest cigarette in Camel's stable, Camel No. 9, is an unabashed bid to lure female smokers to the historically macho brand -- just check out the hot pink and black packaging.  (Ahem.  Pause for station identification.)  Naturally, women's health advocates and concerned feminsts are up in arms -- but might they have a fashionable trademark ally as well?

As the New York Times notes, the new brand "has a name that evokes women’s fragrances like Chanel No. 19, as well as a song about romance, 'Love Potion No. 9.'" 

Hmmm.  CAMEL No. 9CHANEL No. 19.  Interesting point.

True, cigarettes and frangrance are quite different products.  On the other hand, some are sold through the same venues, e.g. drugstores.  And while the logos are quite different, the names  and use of the "No." abbreviation and similar typeface were at least close enough to form an association in the mind of one reporter. 

Moreover, Chanel No. 19 is arguably a well-known trademark, and the sometime association of cigarettes with glamour has been replaced in the modern era with images of lung cancer -- not exactly a connection that Chanel would wish to cultivate, despite the archival pictures of Mademoiselle with her smokes.

Horst photo of Coco Chanel 1937

Of course, like all cigarette packaging, this one comes with a disclaimer:

The “9” is meant to suggest “dressed to the nines, putting on your best,” [senior marketing director at R.J Reynolds, Brian] Stebbins said, rather than a perfume or a song.

Perhaps -- or maybe the job of marketing a Camel involves a certain amount of shoveling. 

Thanks to Katherine Ross for the tip!