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‘Acceptable rebellion’: marketing hipster aesthetics to sell Camel cigarettes in the US
  1. Yogi Hendlin,
  2. Stacey J Anderson,
  3. Stanton A Glantz
  1. Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education, University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco, California, USA
  1. Correspondence to Stanton A Glantz, University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco, California, 94143-1390, USA; glantz{at}


Objective The aim of the present work was to understand why and how RJ Reynolds and other tobacco companies have marketed tobacco products to young adult social trendsetting consumers (termed ‘hipsters’) to recruit trendsetters and average consumers to smoke.

Methods Analysis of tobacco industry documents and industry marketing materials.

Results Since 1995, RJ Reynolds developed its marketing campaigns to better suit the lifestyle, image identity and attitudes of hip trendsetters (so-called ‘hipsters’), and Camel's brand identity actively shifted to more closely convey the hipster persona. Camel emphasised in-venue events such as promotional music tours to link the brand and smoking to activities and symbols appealing to hipsters and their emulating masses.

Conclusions To reach this targeted and socially valuable trend-setting population, public health advocates must tap into hipster psychology and expose to the targeted community the tobacco company's efforts to infiltrate the hipster community to turn hipsters into tobacco-using role models.

  • Advertising and promotion
  • qualitative study
  • young adults

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  • Funding National Cancer Institute grant CA-87472; other funders: National Institutes of Health.

  • Competing interests None.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.