Philip Morris To Improve Image
Philip Morris Cos. Inc., the owner of the world's biggest tobacco company, plans to spend $100 million over the next year on an advertising campaign designed to remake its corporate image.
The ads, which begin running during the baseball playoff games Wednesday and will appear on high-profile news, sports and primetime shows like ``ER,'' call attention to the company's efforts to help the hungry, abused women and disaster victims.
Philip Morris contributes about $60 million a year to causes like feeding the hungry and caring for abused women.
``For too long we have let others define who we are,'' said Steven C. Parrish, senior vice president for corporate affairs for Philip Morris.
In addition to its tobacco operations, Philip Morris owns Miller Brewing Co. and Kraft Foods, which makes Jell-O, Maxwell House coffee and Oscar Mayer meats.
The campaign comes as tobacco companies remain under attack from the federal government, health insurers and public health advocates who want the industry to help pay the costs of treating sick smokers and to discourage children from starting to smoke.
The industry tried to put many of these claims to rest when it reached settlements under which it will pay $246 billion to the 50 states over 25 years and accepted restrictions on marketing cigarettes in exchange for withdrawal of lawsuits.