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In 1913, Richard Joshua Reynolds came up with a startling idea: the packaged cigarette. Up to this time, a market for pre-packaged cigarettes simply did not exist, since most tobacco users preferred to ‘roll their own’. Reynolds formulated a milder flavor he thought would be more appealing than the more harsher brands, and created the Camel cigarette using a Turkish paper to mimic the more fashionable Egyptian equivalents. By undercutting competitors, he had sold 425 million packs of Camels within a year. His logo choice originated from his time spent working on his father’s tobacco farm in Virginia between 1874 and 1895. While transporting goods between two local towns, he would happen upon a roaming Barum & Bailey circus, which of course had a camel or two. That same year, Reynolds commissioned Fred Otto Kleesattel from Louisville, Kentucky, to draw the original camel. Kleesattel had worked for the U.S. Army as a camouflage artist during World War I. One particular promotional strategy Reynolds tried was another circus camel named ‘Old Joe’, who was paraded through towns distributing free cigarettes. The brand’s original slogan, “I’d walk a mile for a Camel” was used successfully for decades.
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