Camel Lures Aspiring Hipsters to Cigarettes with Williamsburg-Themed Packaging

Nov 12, 2010

You’re just another rebellion-minded young kid with ambitions to be like one of those people you associate yourself with. That’s correct, you want to be a hipster. And where do these hipsters live? Well, you know they live in Williamsburg, in Brooklyn, where the PBR flows like water and irony is the lingua franca. But if an uncool cigarette company put Williamsburg-themed art on its packs, would you smoke them? Camel thinks you will!

The RJ Reynolds company – still best known for dispatching a sunglasses-clad version of its animal namesake onto the battlefields of the war to get kids addicted to nicotine – has rolled out a line of its smokes that feature skylines of other “hipster cities” such as Austin and Seattle, The Brooklyn Paper reports.

Camel is betting on the fact that an association with what they call “the most famous hipster neighborhood” will get more people hooked, or at least sell more to the already-addicted.

Brooklyn Paper has the promotional material. It’s painfully earnest!

“It’s about last call, a sloppy kiss goodbye and a solo saunter to a rock show in an abandoned building …” said the promotional material, possibly written by a team of marketers who have never been to Williamsburg. “It’s where a tree grows.” (Groan.)

The marketing campaign promises its customers will earn “serious street cred” for trying the Williamsburg brand, and noted that Camel met with some “modern-day pioneers” with “lighthearted angst and rebellion” in the neighborhood to try the brand out.

Oh, the Williamsburg kids, with their lighthearted angst and everything! Don’t you just want to be them? To join them in their Rock ‘n’ Roll lifestyle? It’s just an overpriced pack of Camels away.

Not surprisingly, Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz and Williamsburg Councilman Steve Levin are both against this ad campaign.

“As a former smoker, I know there is no way to responsibly use cigarettes,” Markowitz told Brooklyn Paper. “So when we say that Williamsburg and Brooklyn are smokin’, we mean smokin’ hot – not smokin’ cigarettes!”


Source: The New York Observer (November 11, 2010)