History of Product Names & Trademarks: Camel Cigarettes

About the history and origins of famous product names and trademarks, in this case Camel Cigarettes.

CAMEL CIGARETTES (Warning: The Surgeon General Has Determined That Cigarette Smoking Is Dangerous to Your Health.) Richard Joshua Reynolds, founder of the R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company in Winston, N.C., introduced Camel cigarettes to the American public in 1913. The camel symbol was chosen because the cigarette was made from Turkish tobaccos and, supposedly, had an "exotic" flavor. When "Old Joe," a camel traveling with the Barnum and Bailey circus, came to town, Reynolds dispatched an employee to get a picture of the dromedary for an advertising campaign. Old Joe refused to play "model," tossed his head and tail about, and made threatening advances on the cameraman. The resulting "indignant" snapshot has been reproduced on billions of packages of Camel cigarettes. The slogan for Camels supposedly came from conversation between a hobo and a sign painter employed by the Reynolds Company. After bumming a cigarette from the painter, the hobo spoke the well-known words, "I'd walk a mile for a Camel."

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