Joe Camel was concieved in late 1987 by the R.J. Reynolds Tobacco (RJR) marketing team. At that time, RJR's staff found that the Camel brand was be known as an "old-man's cigarette". The staff wanted a new campaign to attract younger customers.
In 1991, the American Medical Association published a study showing that more children 5 and 6 years old could recognize Joe Camel easier than Mickey Mouse or Fred Flintstone. This showed about effective the "Joe Camel" campaign was targeting children. Also, over 1/3 of all cigarettes sold illegally to underage buyers were Camels.
Today, the Joe Camel campaign is a reminder of how easily children are tricked by advertising and marketing.