Friday, January 04, 2008
With all the recent hoopla surrounding Native Americans as mascots, it seemed peculiar that Natural American Spirit cigarettes would use the puffing chief for a logo. The artsy packaging—with the bird and graphic patterns—pushes the cultural imagery pretty hard. It’s a wonder the manufacturer resisted naming the smokes Native American Spirit.
Despite being acquired by Reynolds American in 2002, the brand is produced by the Santa Fe Natural Tobacco Company, which brags about actually donating portions of profit to Native American causes. Plus, the company appears to have strong commitments to eco-friendly endeavors. And they even boast honest and straightforward communication, insisting on responsible marketing. Or at least as responsible as one can be with a product designed to kill people.
It’s hard to criticize the Santa Fe Natural Tobacco Company’s sincerity. At the same time, it sure feels hypocritical when tobacco manufacturers hype philanthropy and humanitarianism.