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Mysterious Smoke Screen
It’s an advertising case of ‘whodunit.’ In the latest issue of New York magazine, the principals of the Nezzina/Brown advertising agency are credited with creating ‘the world’ of the fabulously successful Joe Camel for R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co,
No way, say the guys at Trone Advertising in Greensboro, N.C., who contend they are the creative geniuses that thought up the hip dromedary.
Back in 1988, Trone created the camel character for the 75th anniversary promotion of what was than a failing brand. The agency of record, McCann’Erickson, continued using the smokin’ camel. The account then moved to Young & Rubicam, where John Nezzina and Bill Brown worked on the brand. The two left Y & R in 1991, created a tiny agency and won the $45-million Camel account soon after, Brown says that he and Nezzine never claimed to have created Joe Camel. ‘The ides was lifted from a French illustration,’ he said.