|Headquarters||Owensboro, Kentucky, USA|
Red Man is a leading brand of chewing tobacco in the United States, produced since 1904. Red Man has traditionally come as leaf tobacco, in contrast to twist chewing tobacco or the ground tobacco used in snuff, and became a leader in that form of oral/dental/mouth tobacco. It is made by the Pinkerton Tobacco company of Owensboro, Kentucky. In 1985, Pinkerton was acquired by a Swedish corporation, and after further corporate reshuffling, the Red Man brand now falls under the umbrella of the Swedish Match company, which in turn is owned primarily by institutional investors. The proportion owned by non-Swedish investors is approximately 80%.
A distinguishing characteristic of Red Man lies in its branding. Red Man was the first company on a national level to utilize the Native American as its brand image. This type of branding, which many deem to be inherently racist, has been examined by a number of U.S. Representatives. This group of Representatives introduced the Non-Disparagement of Native American Persons or Peoples in Trademark Registration Act of 2013. Though the Washington Redskins were in large parts the focus of the legislation, it could negate the trademarks of all brands that utilize the image of the Native American. In many regards, Red Man could be considered the predecessor of the Redskins and all branding that revolves around the romanticized or otherwise objectified image of the Native American.
Early in its history, Red Man advertisements were painted on the sides of barns, featuring an endorsement from baseball player Nap Lajoie: "Lajoie chews Red Man, ask him if he don't." Red Man was initially sold in a few Midwestern states; it expanded (in 1954) into the South and then (in 1963) largely nationwide. The corporation's marketing material describes Red Man's consumer base: "A large number of consumers work outdoors and enjoy hunting, fishing and watch [sic] auto racing." Contemporary materials from Swedish Match also suggest that the brand name came from something of an homage to American Indians.
Marketing tie-ins with rural and outdoor sports have been a hallmark of the Red Man brand. From 1952 to 1955, Red Man produced a series of baseball cards, the only tobacco company to do so after 1920. Since then, the brand has sponsored competitive events including the "Red Man-All American Pulling Series", a tractor pulling circuit, and the "Red Man All-American Bass Championship", a fishing competition. In 1991, under pressure from the Federal Trade Commission, which was enforcing a 1986 U.S. statute banning television ads for smokeless tobacco, Red Man agreed to stop displaying its "product logo, selling message or the color or design of the tobacco product or its package" during televised coverage of the tractor pulls. The competitive fishing circuit that culminated in the Bass Championship was sponsored by the company and called the "Red Man Tournament Trail" from 1983 to 2000, after which Wal-Mart took over as the name sponsor.
Flavors and Varieties
- Red Man Long/Fine Cut Natural
- Red Man Long/Fine Cut Straight
- Red Man Long/Fine Cut Wintergreen
- Red Man Loose Leaf (Chew) Original
- Red Man Loose Leaf (Chew) Golden Blend
- Red Man Loose Leaf (Chew) Silver Blend
- Red Man Loose Leaf (Chew) Select
- Red Man Plugs
- Red Man Golden Blend Totems
Beginning in 2010 Red Man joined Baker-Curb Racing in the NASCAR Nationwide Series as sponsor of car #27 with Greg Biffle of Roush-Fenway Racing as driver. Johnny Sauter drove at Nashville. This team and sponsor planned on 10 to 15 races in 2010. In June 2010, Baker Curb Racing was forced to pull the sponsorship off the car after NASCAR extended its tobacco product sponsorship ban to smokeless tobacco; previously the ban had extended to cigarette makers with few exceptions and smokeless tobacco sponsorships had been in NASCAR for years (including at Baker Curb, whose #37 car had been sponsored by Red Man's sister brand Timber Wolf).
Notes and references
- History of chewing tobacco. Swedish Match. Retrieved July 15, 2006.
- Annual Report 2005, page 6, retrieved February 16, 2007.
- Merskin, Debra (2010-10-10). "Winnebagos, Cherokees, Apaches, and Dakotas: The Persistence of Stereotyping of American Indians in American Advertising Brands". Howard Journal of Communications (Routledge) 12 (3): 159–169. doi:10.1080/106461701753210439. Retrieved 2013-03-11.
- "House Introduces Bill to Ban Racist 'Redskins' Trademark". Indian Country. 2013-03-21. Retrieved 2013-04-11.
- Nunberg, Geoffrey (2001). The Way We Talk Now: Commentaries on Language and Culture. Houghton Mifflin Reference. p. 32. ISBN 0-618-11603-6.
- Zoss, Joel; Bowman, John (2004). Diamonds in the Rough: The Untold History of Baseball. University of Nebraska Press. p. 18. ISBN 0-8032-9920-6.
- "Chewing Tobacco Ads to Be Less Obvious". New York Times. 1991-10-31. Retrieved 2006-07-15.
- "Arizona's Baldwin Takes First Day Lead in Red Man All-American Bass Championship". Business Wire. 1999-06-18. Retrieved 2006-07-01.
- "Twelve Red Man bass divisions hold super events". Boats.com / Operation Bass. 2000-09-05. Retrieved 2006-07-01.[dead link]
- Shorpy A photograph of outdoor advertising in Camden, NJ, 1939, showing the Red Man brand.