BJ Exploratory Focus Groups

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

BJ Exploratory Focus Groups

This R.J. Reynolds "secret" document discusses focus groups held in Chicago in 1979 to figure out how to market a new brand of cigarettes (which they refer to here as "BJ") to young adult smokers. Members of the groups were referred to as "the target." Note the description of the people participating in the focus groups ("the target"):

Smokers in the groups were generally somewhat downscale or at most lower-middle class...They are more or less ordinary, and their wants are pedestrian...Their leisure time activities are very much 'what everyone does.' They tend to live life within relatively narrow, predictable limits...

The observer seems surprised or disappointed when the cigarette marketing "targets" fail to fantasize appropriately about wealth and belonging to a higher class:

We asked smokers to fantasize and describe their ideal evening. What was most apparent in the ensuing discussions was that the fantasies were all within the realm of possibility--they were merely extensions of, or deepenings of, their normal leisure time activities. The fantasies were not imaginative; they were not radical departures from reality. Examples are:

- driving around, a couple drinks, a girl - a good meal, drinks, a show - drinking until I black out - cocktails, dinner, a show, my place - bar, large T.V., friends, girl, beer - expensive dinner - barbeque, drinking... ... After these fantasies were discussed, we asked some of the groups to "try again" and to let all stops out. Here, they were able to come up with fantasies that tended to involve being in a higher social class. For example:

- chauffeured limousines - going to Europe

- buying a 747 and loading it with girls.

Title: BJ Exploratory Focus Groups
Company: R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company
Document Date: 30 Jul 1979
Length: 10 pages
Bates No.: RJR 501074168/4178