We searched tobacco industry document archives from the University of California, San Francisco Legacy Tobacco Documents Library (legacy.library.ucsf.edu), and Tobacco Documents Online between February 2006 and December 2007. Initial search terms included: Marlboro; Unlimited
; Camel; CML
; young adult; brand identity; and brand plan. Initial searches yielded thousands of documents; we reviewed documents related to custom publication development. Searches were repeated and focused using standard techniques [19
], including “snowball” searches for contextual information using key words, names, project titles, dates, and reference (Bates) numbers. This analysis is based on a final collection of 337 research reports, presentations, memoranda, and brand plans. We reviewed the documents, organized them thematically, and wrote summary memoranda. Information found in industry documents was triangulated with data from searches of the published literature, online search engines, news stories, and examination of promotional materials. We found the most complete planning documents for PM’s Marlboro-branded Unlimited
() and RJ Reynolds’ (RJR) Camel-branded CML
(), two of the most popular and most aggressively promoted brands for young adult males.
We analyzed 25 Unlimited and 6 CML magazine issues housed at Trinkets and Trash (trinkestsandtrash.org), an archive and surveillance system of historic and current tobacco promotional materials. The magazines analyzed contained a total of 732 articles, 181 tobacco ads, and 528 non-tobacco ads. We defined a tobacco advertisement as an item with a visible Surgeon General’s warning label or an FTC statement specifying the amount of “tar” and nicotine in the cigarette, and as a non-tobacco advertisement if it advertised products that were not for tobacco, including tobacco paraphernalia (e.g., lighters, ashtrays). Although most CML advertisements were tobacco ads, these were mostly advertorials (both advertisement and editorial), and were counted as tobacco advertisements ().
We developed coding instruments to analyze the magazine for smoking and brand identity content in four areas: Covers, articles, tobacco advertisements, and non-tobacco advertisements. We trained five coders using standard methods [20
]. Coders were blinded to our hypotheses, and coded the frequency of references or depictions of tobacco or its use, tobacco products, logos, or brand names, and cover elements. We measured intercoder reliability formally using Krippendorff’s Alpha (0.704) and raw percentages of agreement (greater than 80%), both of which are acceptable reliability levels for content analyses that include more than two coders [20
Our analysis of industry documents suggested two hypotheses that we tested by content analysis. First, we hypothesized that the content in Unlimited
portray smoking or smokers positively. Second, we hypothesized that the content in Unlimited
reflect the Marlboro and Camel brand identities, which is how marketers want a brand to be perceived by consumers [22
Key elements of the brand identity identified from our analysis of internal marketing documents were identified and incorporated into our coding instruments using a four-point Likert scale. Coders based their ratings of themes (e.g., tough or rugged) on an overall assessment of the entire article based on marketers’ definitions of brand identity components, which at times were vague. Our definitions, therefore, were reliable but may have been different from the marketer’s original intent. We combined components that appeared to have similar definitions to facilitate coder reliability and validity.
The “Marlboro brand score” included elements that PM marketers sought to associate with the Marlboro brand: Tough or Rugged [23
], Solitude, Freedom, or Independence [23
], Rural or Harmony with Nature [23
], Classic, Traditional, or Nostalgic [23
], and Adventure or Excitement [23
]. The “Camel brand score” included components of the Camel brand identity: Tough or Rugged [overlapping category with Marlboro][25
], Irreverence or Sassiness [25
], Urban [Reverse coding of Rural or Harmony with Nature] [25
], Classic, Traditional, or Nostalgic [overlapping category with Marlboro][26
], Contemporary, Modern, or Trendy [25
], Edgy or Rebellious [25
], and Sociable [28
]. The Camel brand score included RJR’s attempts to integrate classic with modern imagery (e.g., ). The distribution of each brand identity element and total Marlboro and Camel brand scores were calculated for all articles and advertisements. A “high” brand score was defined based on the top quartile of the score distribution.
Camel Advertisement in CML ( Winter 2003)