Holly Moore explains why the US tobacco giant has proposed ad
It will be a bit harder to find Marlboro Country if the US Congress
chooses to adopt the proposals of the tobacco giant, Philip Morris, to
restrict tobacco advertising.
After years of attacks by special interest groups, last month Philip
Morris took the initiative, issuing a ‘blue print’ for the future
marketing of tobacco products in the hope of pre-empting stricter
regulation from the Food and Drug Administration.
Tobacco manufacturers have been under fire for years for creating icons
like the Marlboro cowboy and Joe Camel which, critics claim, appeal
directly to underage smokers. To combat this, Philip Morris proposes
that the tobacco industry contributes dollars 250 million over five
years to combat teenage smoking.
It’s surprising that Philip Morris has also proposed a ban on the sale
of non-tobacco items displaying product brand names, such as T-shirts
and gym bags, given that four years ago the company staged the biggest
promotion in cigarette history, a dollars 200 million spree, dubbed the
Marlboro Adventure Team, that offered consumers products such as jackets
and caps emblazoned with the Marlboro logo.
Many fear legal restraints, seeing them as a threat to freedom of
speech. And while Philip Morris was mapping out the terms of legislation
late last month, the Supreme Court ruled that all ‘truthful, non-
deceptive advertising about a legal product’ is guaranteed protection
under the US constitution’s First Amendment.
However, so far, the White House has been underwhelmed by Philip
Morris’s proposals, stating that the measures fall ‘a little bit short’
of President Bill Clinton’s call to curtail underage smoking.
Holly Moore is an associate editor at Adweek in New York