September 2007 Vogue: Smokin!

It takes a lot to drive a double take, flipping through the phone book that is the September issue of Vogue . . .

Yet, that’s what happened last week when I finally leafed through the record 840 pages of daring fashion spreads, perfumed inserts, and provocative ads (727 of those pages, a full 86.5% of the issue, are ads) . . . speaking of ads, it wasn’t the fabulous Fendi furs or the images of Angelina Jolie in head-to-toe St. John that caught my eye but rather, an ad on page 424 for “Camel No. 9” cigarettes.  First thought, “Chanel co-branding with Camel?”  Second thought? “I know Juicy Couture is all about brand-domination, but cigarettes?”  Seriously, I knew better on both but one only needs to hop 9 pages ahead (to page 433 – congratulations, you’re more than half way through!) to see the current Juicy campaign, filled with the same vivid pinks and greens and similarly funky font work that is the hallmark of their current ad campaign . . . and the cigarette pack of course looks like a box of Chanel perfume.

Much has been made of Camel’s relentless marketing spin-off brand blitz (Camel Wides, Camel Turkish Gold, Camel Special Lights, and Camel 99’s join No. 9. in the new power line-up) and R.J. Reynold’s laser focus on female smokers (look out Virginia Slims) . . . I’m wondering how they get away with the one-two knock-off punch they’re throwing in the ads . . . Virginia Slims is all about the (outdated) assertion of a woman’s right to smoke . . . color me intrigued by this updated, fags-as-fashion trend.

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