Father of PR Eddie Bernays must be smiling upon efforts by Reynolds American to position its Camel SNU spitless smoking tobacco brand as a modern day “Torch of Freedom” for those patriots seeking to “reclaim the world’s greatest city” from zealots like Michael Bloomberg, who has banned smoking in New York City’s parks, pedestrian malls and beaches.
In 1929, Bernays cooked up the “Torches of Freedom” parade of stylishly dressed women smokers strolling down Manhattan’s Fifth Ave. They stuck a blow for equality with men by puffing away on their Lucky Strikes the day after Easter.
The parade helped removed the stigma associated with women smoking and secured a huge market for American Tobacco and its competitors.
Via full-page ads in the Wall Street Journal, New York Daily News and USA Today, Reynolds American urges “NYC smokers to enjoy freedom without the flame” by sucking on a SNUS.
“Camel SNUS is the perfect tobacco pleasure to enjoy virtually anywhere,” reads the ad copy.
Reynolds American has developed a website site to “share your support for tobacco freedom.”
This non-smoking blogger does not support Bloomberg’s draconian ban on smokers, an embattled group that is forever hassled by do-gooders. Even super family-friendly Walt Disney Co. sets aside smoking areas in its theme parks.
Couldn’t Bloomy fence off a couple out-of-the-way sections in Central Park for people who want to light up?
One does wonder however about the success of Reynolds American’s ad, when 20 percent of its space carries the text: “Warning: This product can cause gum disease and tooth loss.” That’s a power disincentive to those wanting to sign up for duty in Reynolds American’s team of freedom fighters.
Bernays, to his credit, expressed regret later in life about his pro-tobacco work. "Had I known in 1928 what I know today I would have refused Hill's offer," said Bernays during the 1960s in a reference to the work for American Tobacco.
That confession though was too late for the millions of smokers who died from cancer after being hooked by Bernays and other PR pros.