Tobacco Industry Documents and the African American Community

Joint Project of  
The National African American Tobacco Prevention Network and
The University of Dayton School of Law

 

  Tobacco Industry and Targeting

 

 

Below are selected quotes from over 3000 pages of industry documents reviewed as of December 1, 1998.  If you have any questions, please contact me, Vernellia Randall

"For the marketing manager, a knowledge of differences between whites and blacks and [culture's] role in the consumer's evaluation of products and product claims is essential"(1)
 

"Black perspective of American Life Affected most by these factors: thwarted ambitions - have fostered frustrations; Black identification - related to hopes, aspirations and life-style patterns including buying decisions"(2)
 

"The adaptation process of the black personality. . . the central problem of Negro adaptation is oriented toward the discrimination he suffers and the consequences of this discrimination for the self-image. . .His self-esteem suffers because he is constantly receiving an unpleasant image of himself. . . its influence is not only caused by its painfulness but by the need for the individual not to be emotionally overwhelmed by discrimination since he has to continue to function."(3)
 

"Black life style gratification. . status seeking, heritage building, ego gratification. . can be translated into a series of Black consumer values useful for an evaluation of Black responses to various marketing and advertising programs"(4)
 

"Over identification with peers, results of Black youth's severe occupation identity crisis. . .for all youth, it is the inability to settle on an occupational identity which most disturbs young people. To keep themselves together they temporarily over identify with their groups."(5)
 

"Blacks spend more than whites of higher % of income [on] social visible products (clothing, personal care, house furnishing, alcohol, tobacco"(6)
 

". . objectives establish a special black smoker image position that is within the Broad vantage tradition of a thinking concerned smoker appeal."(7)
 

"The ideal vantage smoker image for Blacks. . .strong, very strong black masculine man. . career oriented. . makes up his own mind. . sophisticated, attracted and individualistic."(8)
 

"blacks tend to buy cigarettes over the counter rather than self-service basis; this tends to confirm that merchants serving black smokers in the LA markets are also quite security conscious."(9)
 

Guidelines for Negro-oriented Advertising: "Use language that is realistic to Negroes" (10)
 

Guidelines for Integrated Advertising: "Facial features and skin coloring should be of primary concern. . Extremes of either "too light" or "too dark" should be avoided." "Unless it is a "public service" television commercial, it should be kept in mind that the primary audience is the majority population-white." "Avoid physical contact across male/female lines between majority and minority group members, unless in realistic settings (i.e. hand shake. . .)(11)
 

"The majority of Blacks (relatively small upper middle class excepted) do not respond well to sophisticated or subtle humor in advertising. They relate much more to overt, clear-cut story lines and points when humor is used (but resent absurd or silly executional devices."(12)
 

"The Black market can be reached with particular effectiveness in relation to such events or activities as: sports events (basketball, baseball, football, bowling), rock concerts, point of sale advertising at cocktail lounges, discos."(13)
 

"Sponsorship of Ebony Fashion Fair. . . would be difficult to assign to any direct sales benefit. . . however, we do believe it is an effective program overall."(14)
 

"KOOL now uses virtually all know vehicles that reach Blacks effectively and efficiently. . .we [should] add only interior transit in 12 new markets. . . with this additional transit effort KOOL will cover the top 25 markets in terms of absolute numbers of Negroes"(15)
 

"Upward mobility is an important motivating factor in the behavior of Blacks In this context status symbols. . . are used as obvious sign of success. . . Social intercourse - drinking, clubbing and party going play an important and valued part in Black life. . . Sexuality, especially the virile male is an especially important image."(16)
 

"The concept of upward mobility with its outward signs of purchasing the number one in a category is best seen in the purchase of Cadillacs."(17)
 

". .What can be concluded is that there is a need to consider positioning against the Black market as a separate marketing problem."(18)
 

"Whether or not Blacks are as brand loyal as whites is an open question."(19)
 

"Menthol accounts for a far greater share of the Black market than the white market; . . . The implications. . . is that in terms of positioning a product against the Black market it is necessary to take account of the psychological satisfaction desired by Blacks. . . upward mobility. .. That while Black tastes and preferences are often different, a product position solely for the Black market is not the only acceptable solution."(20)
 

"Any discussion of the young cigarette market in total is meaningless for whites differ so greatly from blacks in their smoking habits and in their images of brands"(21)
 

Marlboro is starting brand for whites and Kool is starting brand for blacks
 

"what are the implication of these findings for Philip morris?. . .Marlboro would probably have a very difficult time getting anywhere in the young black market. The odds against it there are heavy. Young black have found their thing, and its menthol in general and Kool in particular"(22)
 

"Certainly Philip Morris should continue efforts for Marlboro in the youth market, but perhaps as strongly as possible aimed at the white market rather than attempting to encompass blacks as well"(23)
 

"Fast method of building image in the inner-city black segment is exposure through involvement with the community"(24)
 

"[need to] . . .increase RJR's penetration among Black smokers. . .A cigarette that provide the benefits of menthol without the menthol taste."(25)
 

"With continuing population growth and higher incidence of smoking (versus the total adult population), Blacks represent an increasingly important marketing segment"(26)
 

"Blacks appear less concerned about health related issues. . . They also tend to buy less things to improve themselves, and are more prone to buy on impulse. . . Blacks are more interested in buying cigarettes per the image it projects to others. .(27)
 

"Given the . . Black. . .smokers concern over the economics of smoking in today's marketplace, combined with their dependence on imagery driven brands, such brands could be a major offensive weapon in pack action outlets. . ."(28)
 

"The principle motivations that can be inferred [for coupons]: . . .both the Raleigh and Belair franchise have very low incomes. . .[Coupons allow] redeem for household items. . . [put family first]. . . "Raleigh and Belair smokers are addicted to smoking. . .Savings coupons help reduce guilt. . ." (29)
 

" Issue 1: The number of YAS smokers is declining. . . Within the 18-34 market, there are only 3 identifiable demographic growth sectors: ethnic smokers (blacks/Hispanics), the less educated smoker and women smokers"(30)
 

"They tend to buy "top of the line" Brands, regardless of their economic ability. This may indicate an opportunity to gain this growth market with a "premium" brand, in terms of both perceived quality and price."(31)
 

"So far, such brands [overtly black or Hispanics] have failed, but also have not been executed with high quality (Dorado, Superior, Black Gold)"(32)
 

"The Key subgroups in the younger adult market that RJR needs to address are females and Blacks"(33)
 

"RJR needs to bolster its position among younger Blacks."(34)
 

"Younger Blacks are key to Coolness Segment growth. They fuel the growth of Newport today - and supported Kool's growth during the 1970's"(35)
 

"The savings segment is largely underdeveloped. This is probably because Savings Brands do not address Black Smokers' key image wants of prestige/upward striving and sociability"(36)
 

"Black smokers, to a much greater degree than White smokers, are highly concerned with upward striving. . .The seize attainable symbols of upward striving which is reflected in their product and image wants. This pattern is consistent across all demographic groups when compared to white smokers." (37)
 

"Note that some traditional menthol symbols (snow, water, outdoors) are linked to activities holding little appeal to Black smokers".(38)
 

"RJR should adopt a product line strategy within Black market aimed at investing in future and expanding upon current development."(39)
 

"Wait. Stop the presses. I just saw your hand written note concerning the target Markets for Hercules and Rio. . .I do have a problem with target market for Rio. You indicate that it is to be young, male, and black. .. .What I have the most trouble with is targeting blacks specifically. I don't think we should make a specific pitch to them. Even though blacks are more likely than whites to smoke a full favor 85 mm brand, the fact is that 70 percent of that market is not black, and if we appear to be going after young blacks we risk alienating the white smokers . .This would not have been true 15 years ago. . . But a funny thing happened on the way to the 80's. The young whites discovered that they had an ethnic identity of their own. . . Something else happened too. Race relations are more strained than they were a few years ago. There is considerable less support for preferential treatment for minorities. . . This is particularly true in the south. . . I think a better strategy would be to let Kool and Newport fight for black males while we preempt the white market."(40)
 

"it does seem likely that one key black attitude - i.e. that of Black pride- is still a strong force at work and sill makes for a powerful marketing device - properly treated."(41)
 

". . Black smoker presents some interesting paradoxes"(42)
 

" Menthol smoking directly related to age (younger), education (increases withe education) view menthol as having positive or medicinal effect. . "(43)
 

"; "Blacks may be particularly receptive to advertising that invites them to identify with scenarios of upward mobility, prestige, popularity, being "in" or trend-setting, etc. "(44)
 

" "the majority of blacks (relatively small upper middle class excepted) do no respond well to sophisticated or subtle humor in advertising. They related much more to overt, clear-cut story lines and points when humor is used (but resent absurd or silly executional devices)"(45)
 

" Media selection for black market is largely a function of the skew of the target audience demographically and socio-economically. Downscale Blacks tend not be Magazine readers, but do read newspaper. . .Upscale Blacks tend to read magazines, thus a mix of Black Magazines and OOH can be used along with the general market magazines and newspapers."(46)
 

" In terms of using "special event" sponsorship and other "indirect" advertising/promotion avenues, the Black market can be reached with particular effectiveness in relations to such events "or activities as -sports events, rock concerts, point of sale advertising at cocktail lounges."(47)"
 

"Key difference between Blacks & White . . .Blacks as People . . . the key difference between Blacks & whites all revolve around socioeconomic status - education, work, money. . . Several studies have suggested that blacks are becoming polarized into an elite and an underclass. . . it si the underclass who are smokers. . . Health is more active concern among Blacks than whites because Blacks are more exposed to its absence (ratio of cancer to white deaths 1.3). . . Fortunately for the industry, this health concern does not translate strongly to ant-smoking attitudes, although Blacks are aware of such attitudes among others.. . The explanation is that Black simply have more pressing concerns than smoking issues."(48)
 

". . Minority importance to the 18-24 population will continue to grow." . . . "To stabilize RJR's share of total smokers. . . Strategies need to counter Newport among Blacks/PR."(49)
 

This brand will leverage the Black consumers' desire to use products which: -are distinctive and are associated primarily with Blacks, and are more "potent" (e.g. Blacks drink malt liquor rather than beer.. . .The large circumference and shorter filter will provide a distinctive look and feel. It will provide support to the more "potent" delivery benefit. . . The packaging will have an inner cit look to it possibly a graffiti look. [Potential package designed attached. FAT BOYS](50)
 

"Center-city Black YAS live in an extremely negative and boring environment where no one/ nothing stands out. They want to be respected, even intimidating. They want to escape the everyday monotony and be noticed as original. These smokers are largely influenced by peer pressure generated within the local environment"(51)
 

"In an effort to provide new media forms to high light our black program in Chicago, the use of Bluelight illumination and new types of transit displays is being evaluated."(52)
 

. "This new brand is targeted to younger adult, inner city  Black smokers. The Brand will offer smokers a high quality, smooth tasting cigarette that will be packaged upside down."(53)


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Endnotes
 

1. RJR, Black marketing /advertising strategies for the VANTAGE cigarette through consumer analysis (Date unknown)

2. Id.

3. Id.

4. Id.

5. Id.

6. Id.

7. Id.

8. Id.

9. RJR, Consumer Purchase Patterns (Date Unknown).

10. 1969 Study of Ethnic Markets (1969)

11. Id.

12. RJR, Black Consumer Market (1970s?)

13. Id.

14. RJR, Public Relations Document Regarding Questions Relating to Black Targeting of Advertisements (1970s)

15. RJR, Conclusions based on WAVE XIII and the Latest Black Study (1973)

16. RJR, Summary of Black Cigarette Market (1973)

17. Id.

18. Id.

19. Id.

20. Id.

21. Philip Morris, A Study of Smoking Habits Among Young Smokers (1973)

22. Id.

23. Id.

24. RJR, Chicago Metro Marketing Plan for the Inner City Black Segment (1976)

25. RJR, 1977 Audit of Atlanta Metro market 

26. RJR, Analysis of the MDD Segmentation Study Among Black Smokers (1982).

27. Id.

28. RJR, Pack Action Outlets (1982).

29. Raleigh/Belair Coupon Strategy (1983)

30. RJR, Background on population trends, specifically young adult smokers 18-34 years (1984)

31. Id.

32. Id.

33. RJR, Consumer Research Report for Key trends among target age group smokers (1984)

34. Id.

35. RJR, Market Analysis for Blacks, Hispanics, and Military (1984)

36. Id.

37. Id.

38. Id.

39. Id.

40. Philip Morris, Rio and Hercules (1984).

41. RJR, Demographic and statistical information for background materials regarding the Black Consumer Market (1985)

42. Id.

43. Id.

44. Id.

45. Id.

46. Id.

47. Id.

48. RJR, Summary of Black/Hispanic Research for the Strategic Research Report (1985)

49. RJR, RJR strategy programs - it's primary goal is to improve RJR share among the young adult smoker (1988)

50. RJR, 1990 New Marketing Ideas (1989)

51. RJR, Black Market Premium Criteria (1989)

52. RJR, Management Summary, November Field Activities (1989)

53. RJR, Memorandum summarizing the 1990 upcoming test markets (1989)

 
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Email: Race.mail@notes.udayton.edu

 

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