Tobacco giants in anti-smoking ads
Three of the worldâ€™s biggest tobacco manufacturers are joining forces to launch a global anti-youth smoking campaign in the face of growing cynicism about their international marketing activities.
Philip Morris, British American Tobacco (BAT) and Japan Tobacco International, which own some of the worldâ€™s biggest brands, will unveil a campaign logo and message later this month.
TBWA\London has been appointed to handle an advertising push that will try to persuade children not to smoke. The agency, which also handles advertising for Marlboro, a BAT-owned brand in the UK, will produce creative work across a range of media.
Philip Morris has launched similar anti-youth smoking campaigns in France and the US, but this is thought to be the first such initiative to be undertaken on an international scale. Among those heading the campaign is BAT head of corporate social responsibility Adrian Marshall, who was unavailable for comment.
Anti-smoking group Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) accused the firms of engaging in a cynical ploy to make smoking seem more attractive to young people. â€œThey are trying to improve their image by sounding plausible in front of politicians,â€ an ASH spokeswoman said. â€œBut stressing that smoking is an adult activity will make it more attractive to young people.â€
Last week, Marketing re-vealed that several tobacco firms are thought to be considering offering shares to customers in order to continue sending information direct to them. This would bypass restrictions in the Tobacco Advertising and Promotions Bill, which received its second reading last week.