Thursday, October 10, 2013

Who Killed Joe Camel?

Almost 15 years ago in November of 1998, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) began the Clinton Administration's last assault on Joe Camel, an advertising character created and then owned by RJR Nabisco Holdings Corporation (RJR), contending that RJR was using the character to lure young smokers.  The FTC was seeking to force RJR to sign an order banning the company from using Joe Camel in any future cigarette advertisements.  RJR, involved in a lawsuit and under pressure from Congress and other "pubic interest" groups, had already voluntarily ended its use of Joe Camel in July of 1997.  Still, the FTC continued to kick Joe Camel in the head afer he was down.  Such can be the power and character of some federal agencies and bureaus.  

Joe Camel, RIP, July 12, 1997 

It has been asked, "Who is next, Ronald McDonald?" Can any survive such an attack? It seemed to me at the time that consequences for freedom of speech were involved, or perhaps for freedom of choice. Yet, much can be done in the name of "protecting" the children or some other group. What might truly motivate those in positions of power? Think about it. 


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