The Works: Project PR

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This article is part of the Tobacco portal on Sourcewatch funded from 2006 - 2009 by the American Legacy Foundation.

The Works: Project PR

On November 2, 1995 prominent anti-tobacco advocate Patrick Reynolds (grandson of the founder of the R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company) presented this public relations proposal to the R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company (RJR) as a way to help the company build goodwill with the public. The proposal, titled "Project PR," suggested that RJR use a set of cartoon characters that Patrick had created to teach kids not to smoke. The characters, "Buck Dromedarian and the Deep Space Camels" were half-human, half-camel space aliens who hailed from the planet Dromedarius in the galaxy Humpus. Patrick suggests in the proposal that, if RJR desired, Buck could even interact with RJR's Joe Camel character in ads promoting the cartoons. Patrick suggested RJR license his characters for use on products that would appeal to children, like toys, music videos, trading cards, stuffed animals, T-shirts, video games, films, a TV series and live appearances. Patrick even proposed that RJR send him (Patrick) on a world tour featuring himself in live appearances at shopping malls and schools in the U.S., Europe and the Far East. Patrick also proposed that he himself be featured in the cartoon, interacting with his space camels.

On page 13 of the proposal, Patrick Reynolds states,

Tobacco executives will not be portrayed as bad guys; if RJR prefers, those characters could be omitted from the script. Patrick Reynolds would, given his preferences, like to put some blame in the stories on the world's politicians for failing to stop kids from buying cigarettes. In this way, blame could be deflected to where it really belongs...


...The more open the RJR team can be, the more popular Buck comics and TV series will of course be with teens--and the more RJR will be trusted and liked as the 'good' tobacco company...

Patrick Reynolds apparently presented the proposal in person to Guy Blynn, RJR's Vice President & Deputy General Counsel. Handwritten notes on the first page, presumably by Blynn, say "Seed money: $250,000," "Target age group? and "People in health community think a good idea?"

Author Patrick Reynolds
Document Date 19951102 (November 2, 1995)
Document Type REPORT
Bates Number 515762396/2426
Collection R.J. Reynolds