Pete Kendall's Socio Times: A Socionomic Commentary

February 15, 2007
R.J. Reynolds Introduces a Feminized Camel
The next time R.J. Reynolds Tobacco asks smokers to walk a mile for a Camel, watch how many of them are in high heels.

Reynolds, eager to increase the sales of its fast-growing Camel brand among women, is introducing a variety, Camel No.9, aimed at female smokers.

But don't look for a Jo Camel to join Old Joe the dromedary on Camel packages, displays or posters. Rather, Camel No.9 signals its intended buyers with subtler cues like its colors, a pink fuchsia and a minty teal; its slogan, "Light and luscious"; and the flowers that surround the packs in magazine ads.

For decades, Camel has been a male- focused cigarette; only about 30 percent of Camel buyers are female. By comparison, for competitive brands like Marlboro and Newport, women compose 40 percent to 50 percent of customers. Almost half of adult smokers are women, so that limited Camel's potential.

Wall Street analysts praise the introduction of Camel No.9, in regular and menthol flavors, as a further step by the R.J. Reynolds Tobacco, a unit of Reynolds American, toward a new marketing strategy. The goal is to refocus on the biggest, most popular - and most profitable - brands, which include Kool as well as Camel.

R.J. Reynolds sells two brands, Capri and Misty, aimed at women. Philip Morris, pioneered the category in 1968 with the Virginia Slims brand. The last cigarette commercial to be broadcast on U.S. television, on Jan. 1, 1971, was for Virginia Slims.
The New York Times

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What Lady Smokers Tell Us About an Old Bull Market
Category: NEWS
By: Pete Kendall, February 23, 2007
“In every field, women gain dominance in bear market periods.”
Prechter’s Pespective, 1996

camelsAs a recent owner patiently digesting Prechter's Socionomics 2-volume set, this bit of today's news positively jumped out at me as a possible (and telling) socionomic indicator... we take a known company in an industry already being singled out as a target/scapegoat of our "moral indignation" (rising interest in sin taxes, health-oriented class action lawsuits etc) and furthermore the very brand almost totally associated with a longstanding bull-market "man's man" icon (Joe Camel), and "rebrand" it, catering to female smokers without dropping the image itself, selling (and nonverbally approving the role) in effect the 'masculine' image along with the cigarette, to the women.  Hopefully I hit something useful; I'm still quite new to this game!
--Brian Fritz

Actually, your observation fits right in with a female advance on traditionally male domains, which EWI has forecast to be a dominant theme in the next phase of decline. Considering the 1960s analogy discussed here yesterday, the Virginia Slims reference is also significant. If the pink accents don’t turn the ladies off, the strategy should be successful. Reynolds is probably picking up on woman’s attempts to be perceived as more manly; one quick way to do that is to smoke a man’s cigarette. We talked about some big breakthroughs in politics in November (see the November 8 entry), but headlines are coming faster and more furiously than ever now. Recent stories range from “Wimbledon to Pay Men and Women Equally” (submitted by Eugene Fina), to the first female president of Harvard University, a return of the bionic woman and this years winner of the A.M. Turing Award, “the tech industry’s equivalent of a Nobel Prize in computing.” The 2007 prize goes to Frances Allen, the first female recipient. In announcing the feat InformationWeek, writes, “You’ve come a long way, baby,” the same line Virginia Slims' famous "women's lib" pitch at the last big speculative peak of at least Cycle degree. It is said that they don’t ring a bell at the top, but, apparently at a really big peak, those that know what to listen for can hear some very familiar echoes. 

POSTSCRIPT from M.S.: An article in the Wall Street Journal arrives at the fascinating conclusion that the Accademy Award nominees for female best actor are all for characters of badly behaving women, or women filling more of a traditional "male" function. The article goes on to claim that masculine women characters are becoming much more popular with audiences.

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