April 3, 2024
Kool Sailboat

A KOOL Cigarette Sailboat Was A Genius Marketing Plan

In 1971 Kool Cigarettes ran a unique marketing campaign. It was seen in magazines around the country with an ad that included sending in $88 and one box end from a carton of Kool cigarettes. Then in a few weeks, a fully functional KOOL cigarette sailboat would be shipped to your door.

Kool Marketing with a Sailboat

Kool Cigarette Sailboat

My dad and mom both smoked at that time (Who didn’t), but they did not smoke Kool’s. However, dad managed to snag an empty carton from the drug store he owned.

A 1971 Beach Toy Comes Back to Life

The hull and sail of this boat have been carefully preserved in a garage for an extended period of over 43 years. Despite this considerable length of time, both elements remain in excellent condition. The original sail, although used, maintains its initial quality and functionality. The hull, likewise, is in a similarly impressive state, showing no signs of deterioration.

The boat was constructed with a homemade fiberglass material, contributing to its lightweight nature. It weighs approximately 50 lbs, a testament to the craftsmanship and the careful choice of materials used in its construction. This light weight makes it manageable for a single person to transport it down to the beach, without requiring any additional help.

Despite its small size, the Kool Cigarette sailboat can accommodate two people comfortably for a sailing session. It’s not uncommon to witness water bubbling up from the daggerboard slot, a charming characteristic of this little vessel. This occurrence does not affect the seaworthiness of the boat, instead adding to the overall sailing experience.

It’s important to note that this boat is more of a toy than a serious sailing vessel. Its design and functionality are quite basic, lacking the advanced features found in professional sailboats. However, this simplicity is what makes it an excellent tool for beginners to learn the fundamentals of sailing. It provides a hands-on experience that helps one understand the basics of navigation, wind direction, and sail control.

Despite its toy-like nature, the boat possesses one remarkable quality – it will never sink. This quality, combined with its easy manageability and instructional value, makes it a perfect choice for those looking to dip their toes into the world of sailing. It provides a risk-free environment for individuals to familiarize themselves with the water and the art of sailing, making it an invaluable tool for beginners.

Kool Success

In 1971, the production and shipment of Snark sailboats skyrocketed to over 48,000. This significant increase was primarily driven by the Kool cigarette mail-order campaign. This marketing strategy turned out to be a major success, so much so that it is now considered one of Kool’s most memorable advertisements.

The Kool cigarette campaign was a promotional offer that allowed customers to order Snark sailboats via mail. This innovative approach not only boosted the sales of Snark sailboats but also significantly enhanced the visibility and popularity of the Kool cigarette brand. The promotional offer was such a hit that it was reintroduced in 1972 and yet again in 1975. During these subsequent offerings, the price of the sailboat was set at $139.

The Kool cigarette mail-order campaign showcases the power of innovative and effective marketing. By offering a tangible and appealing product like a sailboat, the Kool brand managed to attract a large number of customers. The campaign also proved beneficial for the Snark sailboat manufacturing company, which experienced a significant boost in production and sales.

Furthermore, the campaign’s success and its enduring legacy underscore the importance of memorable marketing strategies in brand recognition and customer engagement. Even decades later, the Kool cigarette sailboat mail order campaign is still remembered for its unique approach and the remarkable increase in Snark sailboat production that it led to.

Our full story of Kool Snark Sailboats can be found here.

Kool Cigarette TV Commerical


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Michaela Nolte

Michaela is a history buff and loves to export historical markers and old buildings and seeks stories about Michigan and Great Lakes history. When she is not writing, you can find her with a good book sipping wine on the beach.

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