By 1970, Camel cigarettes dropped off the top five as the most popular brands were Marlboro, Winston, Pall Mall, Salem and Kool. In 1987, R J Reynolds introduces Joe Camel. A North Carolina advertising agency uses Joe Camel to celebrate "Old Joe's" 75th anniversary. Four years later, the Journal of the American Medical Association publishes two reports on Joe Camel and kids.
One study found that 91% of 6 year olds recognized Joe Camel, similar to the percent who recognized Mickey Mouse. The other study finds that since the inception of the Joe Camel campaign in 1987, Camel cigarettes share of the under 18 market has risen from 0.5% to 32.8%, worth more than $400 million per year in sales!
The young character was portrayed as suave and sophisticated in different social settings, such as bars and pool halls. The campaign had helped to raise Camel cigarettes market share to 4.7% in 1996, from 4.4% in 1988, according to tobacco industry analysts.
As part of the industry's settlement with state attorneys general, tobacco companies agreed to eliminate human and cartoon figures in advertising - a move that doomed both Camel cigarettes Joe Camel and Marlboro cigarettes Marlboro Man.