M&C fights Govt on tobacco ban

By JULIAN LEE, campaignlive.co.uk, Friday, 28 May 1999 12:00AM

The Tobacco Manufacturers Association has hired M&C Saatchi to stage a rearguard campaign on behalf of the industry in the same week that the Government accelerated its plans to bring in a ban on tobacco advertising.

The Tobacco Manufacturers Association has hired M&C Saatchi to

stage a rearguard campaign on behalf of the industry in the same week

that the Government accelerated its plans to bring in a ban on tobacco

advertising.



M&C Saatchi won the business this week after putting forward a number of

creative executions - just as it emerged that the Government was set to

implement the ban on press and poster advertising this December, seven

months earlier than originally proposed.



M&C Saatchi’s brief will extend beyond the battle against the ban. The

agency’s joint chief executive, Moray MacLennan, said: ’I can confirm

that we are working with the TMA at what is a very busy time for the

organisation with issues such as tax harmonisation, European legislation

and other marketing related areas.’



The advertising proposed will be confined mainly to the press but will

move on to posters as the campaign gains pace. The first work is

expected to break in the autumn, heralding a period of intense activity

for the UK tobacco industry.



The campaign will have two aims: to raise the issue of high taxes, which

the TMA claims have not stemmed the demand for cigarettes; and to

safeguard the right of tobacco manufacturers to use marketing devices

other than advertising, such as sponsorship.



It will not try to influence ministers on the implementation of the

advertising ban, which forms part of a European Union directive that is

itself the subject of an appeal to the European Court of Justice.



The plans to fast-track the ban are being implemented by the Health

Secretary, Frank Dobson. Last year, the Government said it would

legislate on the ban in July 2000.



But Whitehall sources said this week that Dobson was expected to

announce in the next few weeks that ads would be outlawed by December -

the anniversary of last year’s White Paper outlining the Government’s

anti-smoking strategy.



Chris Ogden, director of trade and industry affairs at the TMA, said:

’We think it is totally unnecessary for the Government to be hastening

the implementation of the ban on press and posters ahead of the

timetable allowed in the directive.



’Even so, our member companies are determined to continue with

challenging the legality of the directive itself. The European Court of

Justice will decide the issue.’



This article was first published on campaignlive.co.uk

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