R. J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. plans to introduce a brand of cigarette soon that, according to the detailed marketing strategy prepared for the company, targets young, poorly educated, white women whom the company calls "virile females."
Reynolds plans to test the new brand, called "Dakota," this April in Houston. The marketing plan's chief goal is to capture the lucrative market among 18- to 24-year-old women, the only group of Americans whose rate of smoking continues to increase. The competition for that group has become intense.
The advertising campaign focuses on a certain group of women whose favorite pastimes, according to the marketing plan, include "cruising," "partying" and attending "tractor pulls" with their boyfriends.
The extensive proposals for "Project VF," for virile female, were provided Friday to the Washington Post. They describe the preferred "Dakota" smoker as a woman with no education beyond high school, whose favorite TV roles are "Roseanne" and evening soap opera stars and whose chief aspiration is "to get married in her early 20s" and spend her free time "with her boyfriend."
Reynolds officials said in a statement that Dakota is not aimed solely at women. " Reynolds officials would not elaborate, and it could not be determined whether the marketing report, prepared by Promotional Marketing Inc., had been accepted by RJR.
Disclosure of the marketing recommendations comes just three weeks after Reynolds was forced by strong opposition to cancel plans to test market "Uptown," a brand of cigarette aimed at blacks.
"It is especially reprehensible to lure young people into smoking and potential lifelong nicotine addiction," said Health and Human Services Secretary Louis W. Sullivan. Sullivan led the fight against Uptown. "And the risk that smoking specifically poses for women adds another tawdry dimension to any cigarette marketing effort aimed at younger women."