City of Chicago Black Sampling Opportunities

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

City of Chicago Black Sampling Opportunities

This 1984 R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company marketing document describes a plan to give away free samples of cigarettes in African American neighborhoods of Chicago. Sites planned for free cigarette giveaways included neighborhood athletic events, roller rinks and even church functions. The writer notes that restrictions existed on sampling of cigarettes on park and school grounds, but immediately afterwards mentions how the company can circumvent the rules:

...[A]lmost all softball games are played on Park District or Chicago Board of Education Grounds. RJRT's own policies prohibit sampling of cigarettes on school grounds. However, our contact to various political representatives on both the South and West sides of Chicago (areas with a predominantly Black population) lead us to believe we could receive some support/assistance from local Black politicians in obtaining permission to sample at these activities...

Other sites targeted for free cigarette giveaways included public transportation stops, traffic court ("Traffic Court has a heavy flow of pedestrian traffic during weekdays, 75% of which is Black"), unemployment offices "in Black neighborhoods of Chicago" and currency exchanges, which the writer notes can be quite busy "from the 25th through the 31st of the month (when food stamps arrive)," as well as on weekdays when Black people pick up their public aid checks.

The marketing plan also targets African-American church events for cigarette sampling. The rationaleis as follows:

Because the Church does represent an important part of the Black lifestyle, we believe that Salem's participation at appropriate Church functions would serve to enhance the image of the Brand within the Black community. It allows Salem to reach them when they are most comfortable and at ease. They will, in turn, associate a pleasurable experience with Salem's participation at the activities and recognize Salem as an active participant in the Black community.

Date 19840123
Bates 503894184/4226
Collection RJ Reynolds
Pages 43