Joe Camel is sent out to pasture
The people who used Joe Camel to market cigarettes to kids have decided to retire their cartoon dromedary. Instead, in the future, they will give away free Beanie Babies with every carton of cigarettes purchased and two Beanie Babies to every new smoker under ten. Just kidding. I made that up. Beanie Babies are so popular with kids right now, no tobacco company could come up with enough of then to use in a giveaway program.
Actually, it was a moral awakening that ended the commercial life of Joe Camel. During the recent negotiations over the tobacco settlement, company executives were shown how badly cigarettes yellowed the baby teeth of the children Joe Camel appealed to and it made them sick. I made that up, too. Yellowed baby teeth didn't have anything to do with their decision to stop using Joe Camel. Only threatened legal action, or coming up with a better marketing gimmick like a baby-crib mobile made out of cigars, could motivate a tobacco company to drop a successful marketing tool like Joe Camel.
Anti-smoking groups thought the strong appeal cartoon characters have for children was a prime component of Joe Camel's success and why there was so much resistance to giving him up but, there may be more to it than that. The guy who played the Marlboro Man in print ads and on T.V. was a heavy smoker and ended up with lung cancer, which understandably, is not a good image builder for a tobacco company. So they figured a fictional, cartoon-character like Joe Camel, was a sure way to avoid the embarrassing situation of having your spokesman die from using your product. Alright, maybe I made that up too. I don't know anything about Joe Camel except that his comforting grin will no longer be looking down at us from billboards. And it won't be long before the same is true for the Marlboro Man. Let's hope drug dealers don't rush to fill the void with an animated elephant named Howie Heroin.