The camel in the logo is of the dromedary variety. In languages other than English, a distinction is made between camels and dromedaries, so the name and image do not coincide. The name was chosen because in the early 20th century travels to far away places were in vogue and a camel supposedly symbolised that nicely.
Packaging in Art
The Camel pack is featured prominently in Tom Robbins novel Still Life with Woodpecker, billed as "a love story that happens inside a pack of cigarettes". The book's artwork is modeled after a pack of Camels, and the package artwork and history are discussed extensively in the book, and it is also mentioned that a pack of Camels is the best friend you have in prison.
The signature scene on most Camel cigarette packs shows a single camel on desert land with pyramids and palm trees in the background. Contrary to what some say is "inconsistency", the background is referencing the brand Camel as opposed to the type of tobacco blended. The image seems to stem from an ancient Egyptian boardgame called Hyena. The hyena is simply replaced by the camel, while the background scene remains the same. On the back of the actual pack is a desert scene with bazaars and mosques. On European versions, the desert scene has been replaced by a health warning.
Fred Otto Kleesattel was commissioned in 1913 to draw the original camel. "Fritz" was a highly sought after graphic designer living in Louisville, KY and was commissioned through his company Klee Ad Art to design the packaging for the camel cigarettes. Klee Ad Art was also integral in designs for Four Roses Distillery, Heaven Hill Distilleries, and many other now immediately recognizable brands. While enlisted in the U.S. Army Mr. Kleesattel worked as a camouflage artist disguising buildings, vehicles, and other sensitive targets to resemble the surrounding animals and plants. There are popular urban myths surrounding subliminal images being hidden within the drawing of the camel.
The reverse sides of many packs or boxes of Camel cigarettes display variations of the following text:
Turkish tobacco is the world's smoothest, most aromatic leaf. Blending it with more robust domestic tobaccos is the secret to Camel's distinctive flavor and world-class smoothness.
In 2008, this was changed to:
A master-crafted blend of only the finest hand-picked Samsun & Izmir Turkish tobaccos with a robust domestic tobacco blend creates Camel's distinctive flavor and world-class smoothness.
The reverse side of unfiltered "soft pack" Camel cigarettes, for dozens of years, has displayed this text:
Don't look for premiums or coupons, as the cost of the tobaccos blended in Camel Cigarettes prohibits the use of them.
Or alternatively can be seen displaying the text (later removed from some packets with the introduction of health warning messages):
Camel, a premium blend of the finest quality tobaccos, provides genuine smoking pleasure.
The reverse side of unfiltered "soft pack" Camel cigarettes, produced by JT International reads:
CAMEL cigarettes contain a blend of choice Turkish and American tobaccos to bring you full smoking satisfaction with CAMEL quality.
Camel Wides, starting in 2008, began displaying this on the reverse side of the pack:
The larger gauge of a Camel Wides cigarette makes for the smoothest, most flavorful way to enjoy Camel's distinctive blend of the finest Turkish and Domestic tobaccos.
Notwithstanding the message telling smokers not to look for premiums or coupons on Camels, the brand nonetheless featured such a promotion called "Camel Cash". Camel Cash, or "C-Note" (C-Note = 5 US cents), is a coupon stuck to the back of filtered varieties of Camel cigarettes. It was made to resemble currency and could be exchanged for items from Camel's Camel Cash catalogue. The artwork changed many times over the years, and in the past included the face of Joe Camel, the controversial cartoon camel, much in the same way as presidents are featured on American currency. Camel Cash redemption expired on March 31, 2007.
Joe Camel was a controversial cartoon camel that primarily appeared in advertisements for Camel, but also appeared on "Camel Cash" and a number of origami Pop-up print ads. Joe Camel came under scrutiny as some considered use of the character to be advertising directed at children. Camel paid millions of dollars to settle lawsuits accusing them of using Joe Camel to market smoking to children. His image was removed from Camel Cash, and at the same time (July 1997) discontinued in advertisements. Now, some people even call the cigarette a "Joe".
Camel cigarettes come in the following varieties:
Camel Filters 99's
Camel Lights 99's
Camel Menthol Lights
Camel No. 9
Camel No. 9 100's
Camel No. 9 Menthe
Camel No. 9 Menthe 100's
Camel Special Lights
Camel Signature Infused
Camel Signature Robust
Camel Signature Frost
Camel Signature Mellow
Camel Turkish Gold
Camel Turkish Royal
Camel Turkish Silver
Camel Turkish Jade
Camel Ultra Lights
Camel Ultra Lights 99's
Camel Wides Lights
Camel Wides Menthol
Camel Wides Menthol Lights
Kamel Red Lights
Kamel Red Menthol
Kamel Red Menthol Lights
Camel Natural Flavor
Camel Natural Flavor Lights
Camel Natural Flavor Ultra Lights