I recently spoke about how I grew up on cigarette ads in the 90s and 2000s, but the brands I mentioned in that piece were only the Black ones. I grew up on white cigarette ads too. On some level, the white brands made more of an immediate impression on my developing psyche. I remember loving the Marlboro Man and, my personal favorite, Joe Camel as a kid. I didn't even associate Joe Camel with cigarettes, despite knowing he was supposed to be. He just seemed like another mascot in America's rich family tree of goofy characters inexplicably tied to brands. I could almost imagine Joe Camel bopping over to Mr. Peanut's house to get his Tupperware back.
When I found out Camel cigarettes planned to discontinue Joe Camel, I remember being kind of heartbroken. It felt akin to reading about the California Raisins dying in a plane crash while heading to a gig. I couldn't understand why the adults got rid of my pal Joe. If that last sentence is any indication, I now fully understand why.
In the video linked above, Weird History's YouTube channel explains the life and death of Joe Camel.