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
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
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.’