Introduced by Brown and Williamson tobacco company in 1933, as an unfiltered 70mm "regular" cigarette, Kool was the first menthol cigarette to be nationally distrubuted by the then burgeoning tobacco industry and thus, was the first popular menthol cigarette. Kool enjoyed continued success through the 1950s, when growing public concern about the health risks associated with smoking began take a toll on the Kool brand. Brown and Williamson responded to these concerns by releasing filtered varieties of Kool - first an 85mm "king-sized" filtered version in the 1960s that was followed by a 100mm or "long" filtered version in the 1970s. The 1980s saw the introduction of Kool lights and it was also during this decade that the Kool brand began to lose some marketshare to other menthol brands, such as Newport. In 2003, Brown and Williamson was purchased by the R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company, and as a result of this merger, Kool became a Reynolds brand. Soon after, Kool's iconic green and white pack, virtually unchanged for some 70 years, was overhauled and the original unfiltered Kool cigarette was discontinued around this same time. However, the changes did little to boost sales, as Kool continued to lose ground to Newport and other menthols. On June 12, 2015, the Kool brand became the property of Imperial Tobacco Company due to a merger between Reynolds American (R.J. Reynolds parent company) and the Lorillard Tobacco Company.
All Kool cigarettes are menthol flavored.
- Kool Filter Kings (Full Flavor) (Kings) - Soft, Box
- Kool Super Longs (Full Flavor) (100's) - Soft, Box
- Kool Blue (Milds) - Kings and 100's - Box
- Kool XL (Wides) Green (Full Flavor) - Kings - Box
- Kool XL (Wides) Blue (Milds) - Kings - Box
Kool cigarette advertising began with the character of "Willie" the penguin, who was portrayed as several different professions, among which were a doctor, a soldier and a chef. In the early 1960s, the image of the cartoon penguin was no longer used, and Kool instead began marketing their cigarettes by linking the cool taste of menthol to cool outdoor scenes portraying water or snow. Former Kool Models include Steve Tyler.
In 1971, Kool initiated an advertising campaign where consumers could mail order a Snark sailboat with the Kool logo on the sail — for $88 (later $99) along with one Kool carton flap — including delivery. The sailboats retailed at the time for $120. As one of Kool's highest scoring ads, the company received over 18,000 orders for "Sea Snarks" in 1971. The Snark/Kool campaign won a national POPI award (given by the Point of Purchase Institute) as the most creative and inventive ad of 1971. The Kool Snark promotion was repeated in 1972, adding option payment through charge cards — and again in 1975 for $139.
The Estonian Patent Office did not give the permission for Kool cigarettes to be sold in Estonia because of the name meaning "school" in Estonian language.
- Willie the Kool Penguin at Don Markstein's Toonopedia. Archived from the original on April 15, 2015.
- "Kool Asks: Is Your Menthol Cigarette Tasting Flat?". Brandhot.de / Hot Brands, Cool Ads. Archived from the original on October 15, 2014. Retrieved 2010-09-08. In German.
- "Kool Brand History". TobaccoDocuments.org. Archived from the original on July 14, 2014.
Also in 1971, KOOL initiated a self-liquidator campaign whereby consumers were given the opportunity to purchase an 11-foot sailboat with carried Kool 1ogo and usually sold for $120. Consumers could purchase a "Sea Snark" for $88 and one KOOL canon and flap. The purpose of the offer was to increase the effectiveness of the ad; it was one of KOOL's highest scoring ads and was used again in 1972. KOOL received over 18,000 orders for "Sea Sharks" in 1971. A POP test was conducted in 1971 comparing the "Sea Snark" floor display with a non-liquidator KOOL display. Stores using the ordinary display failed to increase sales enough to justify the $6.00 store payment. KOOL sales re "Sea Snark" display rose enough to more than cover the display payment and cost. KOOL's Sea Snark promotion was repeated in 1972, adding option payment through charge cards. 1975: The Sea Snark offer was repeated in a self-liquidator campaign for $139.Note: Original source uses both "Sea Shark" and "Sea Snark".
- "History of Snark Sailboats". Sailboatstogo.com.