According to Fox News, the Copenhagen brand of chewing tobacco recently launched a new ad campaign targeting teenagers. The ads, which began showing up last month in teen magazines like Seventeen, have parents all over the country up in arms.
“It’s sickening what Copenhagen is doing,” Samantha Davies of Truth, an anti-tobacco organization, told Fox & Friends. “They are glamorizing something that is just as dangerous and deadly as cigarettes to the youth of this country, and children are buying into it. They believe that because it’s smokeless tobacco it’s OK.” Davies continued, “Just when you think Big Tobacco couldn’t stoop any lower they go and pull a stunt like this. It’s pure evil and greed, it’s that simple.”
The ads show teenagers holding cans of Copenhagen, while using the product and a slogan that reads, ‘DO WHAT YOU WANT’. Teens are also encouraged by the company to send in pictures of themselves using the product and in return Copenhagen says they will provide them with free merchandise.
Tom Downey, a spokesman for Copenhagen, told reporters the company is attempting to help the young people in this country with the new ad campaign.
“Smokeless tobacco is not as bad as cigarettes and both guys and girls can use it,” Downey said. “I think this new ad campaign is exactly what the youth in this country need.”
Paul Horner of Leo Burnett Worldwide, the company who created the new ad campaign for Copenhagen, told NBC News that the ads have been extremely successful so far.
“Copenhagen is looking to get away from their ‘bearded, rugged old man, outdoorsy-grizzle-eating-a-bear’ type image, so they came to us for help,” Horner said. “The goal of our ads is to introduce tobacco to young kids who are not familiar with the product yet. Also, as of today, I’m proud to say that sales for Copenhagen smokeless tobacco have increased 18% since the new ad campaign began.”
17-year-old Kim Peterson spoke to CNN about the controversial ad campaign.
“You know, we’re people too and we shouldn’t be told what we can and can’t do. I’m excited one company finally gets it,” Peterson said. “I’m just glad they figured out where the real market is. I’m going to tell all my friends to start chewing.”
Can Copenhagen re-brand itself and create a new demographic? Will this risky ad campaign pay off, only time will tell.
Copenhagen has set up a hotline for free samples and merchandise to anyone under the age of 21 at (785) 273-0325. A hashtag on Twitter of #DoWhatYouWant is currently trending.