Joe Camel—a brand stretched to the max

Magazine advertisement featuring “Joe Camel” and Camel cigarettes for R.J Reynolds Tobacco, 1993

“Joe Camel” and the stretching of the Camel cigarette brand is a prime example of brand stretching at its worst.

In David Berman’s book Do Good Design he talks about how before the “Joe Camel” cartoon character appeared in the 1980s Camel cigarettes had one percent of the U.S. teen cigarette market. By the time the campaign was stopped in 1997 Camel had 32 percent of this market, and more than 90 percent of six-year-olds could recognize Joe (more than knew Mickey Mouse.)

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