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Joe Camel was the official mascot of R.J. Reynolds Tobacco company's Camel cigarette brand from 1987-1997. He was created in 1974 "by a British artist, Billy Coulton, for a French advertising campaign that subsequently ran in other countries in the 1970s," and it was based on the usage of a non-anthropomorphic camel on the front design of Camel cigarette boxes since the beginning of the brand in 1913.
However, when it was adopted in the United States by R.J. Reynolds Tobacco in 1987, it soon came under intense scrutiny, formalized in a 1991 study released by the Journal of the American Medical Association that claimed that Joe Camel serving as an anthropomorphic mascot for the cigarette would allow children to associate the character with more prominent funny animal characters, such as Mickey Mouse. When the company refused an AMA request to rescind the mascot and associated advertising campaign, it was then sued in the same year by San Francisco-based attorney Janet Mangini, who challenged the company on the growing appeal of the cigarette to minor or juvenile buyers.
The intensification of scrutiny against the Joe Camel character by the Mangini trial, Congress and activist organizations led R.J. Reynolds to settle out of court and end the Joe Camel campaign in 1997. In addition, the company paid US$10 million to San Francisco and other California municipal areas which intervened in the case, money which was earmarked to fund youth-targeted anti-smoking campaigns.
- Joe Camel on Wikipedia