linked in facebook twitter rss

  • Interbrand
  • Brandchannel

your chance!
your chance!
Philip Morris brand

 

  Philip Morris
Philip Morris
extinguished
by Charlotte Jane Dyson
July 8, 2002

Cigarettes can kill you. Everyone knows that. Yet despite the risk, millions of people light up for a nicotine hit everyday. But, because of both moral issues and legal guidelines, marketing products to these consumers is a tough task. Ask Phillip Morris.

Philip Morris has the unenviable task of producing a website which must attract and engage users.

 
There’s just one stipulation -- it cannot in any way, advertise, promote or market its cigarette brands. On top of the restriction not to promote, they limit themselves by enforcing a company mission to not use their website to entice youngsters into the perils of smoking. The pressure could be enough to drive one to a second pack each day. So how does Philip Morris approach its website within these confines?

The answer has been to create a site dominated by text. In fact, upon opening the site you would be forgiven for thinking you had opened a newspaper.

 
 
Philip Morris Since the site cannot promote the company’s products, Philip Morris has made it a spot to share information, rather than a web-based promo piece. The site’s content discusses tobacco-related issues and offers competing views on smoking. The homepage presents a range of topics including smoking in public places, FDA regulations and a feature on youth smoking prevention – clearly sensitive issues. But can the website succeed in being informative in a manner which is both relevant to the brands and credible as an objective information source?

An entire heading is dedicated to the issue of smoking in public places. Non-smokers are pretty much aware by now that passive smoke can increase their risk of lung cancer, heart disease and asthma. Philip Morris, though, is keen to point out that non-smokers and smokers alike have the right to choose. This is a theme that runs throughout the site, as well as in this section. To limit the exposure of second-hand smoke, Philip Morris is researching and investing in ventilation and air-conditioning equipment to be used in public places, as well as participating in an ongoing program to educate business owners, hospital workers, etc., on the options available. According to Philip Morris, gasping for clean air will soon be a thing of the past.

In the Tobacco Issues section, there is a wide range of topics covered including youth smoking, health issues and quitting smoking. For advice on quitting you are directed to a another site, www.quitnet.org, but not before being reminded that the reasons we smoke cover a wide range of complex behaviors – psychological, physiological, cognitive and social.

The article on youth smoking is interesting and pivotal to the site’s credibility. A bold statement by Philip Morris says that the company does not want kids to smoke. They even recognize that their sincerity might be questioned and therefore request that site visitors judge them by their actions (although based on recent top-secret corporate documents that premise is a bit suspect). However, throughout the website, Philip Morris emphasizes the steps they take to limit youth smoking with grants for after-school activities and programs to educate youngsters about the risks of smoking. Surprisingly, their program and investment of US$ 100 million is not the main thrust of the article on youth smoking.

While their intentions to provide a responsible and informative site are admirable (and of course, wholly necessary) the company has some bold and arguably unrealistic goals. It states that it will advertise only to adults, but what can it do, blindfold all youngsters? It wants to reduce the environmental impact of smoking, but smoke is a pollutant and as long as smokers are lighting up, it will impact the environment. It wants to communicate the health risks involved with smoking, but by doing so it’s encouraging people not to purchase its products. Smoking is a risky business, as is producing a site that attempts to discuss all the issues related to smoking without publicizing its products or bringing to the forefront the fact that it’s simply best not to smoke.

 

Charlotte Jane Dyson is a marketing consultant. She lives in Yorkshire, England, and spent fourteen years in consumer marketing with Nestlé.

     
*Due to the constantly changing environment of websites, some reviews may no longer reflect the current website for this brand.
 commenting closed Add Social Bookmark bookmark  print
 suggest topic  recommend ( 6 )  email

  brandchannel Digital Watch archive   2012  |  2011  |  2010  |  2009  |  2008  |  2007  |  2006  |  2005  |  2004  |  2003  | 2002  |  2001
 
 
Dec 30, 2002 Ligne Roset - Chic -- Vivian Manning-Schaffel
  Le style de vie translates perfectly online.
   
 
Dec 16, 2002 Harrods - Dressed up -- Charlotte Jane Dyson
  Can Harrods.com deliver Knightsbridge to your door?
   
 
Dec 9, 2002 Bajaj Auto Limited - Tanks
  As Bajaj Auto Limited goes forward with its brand, its dot com division appears to be in reverse.
   
 
Dec 2, 2002 Electrolux - Powered
  Is Electrolux.com as sleek as its products?
   
 
Nov 25, 2002 Kinokuniya - Bookmark it
  Kinokuniya.co.jp publishes an efficient yet simplistic online bookstore.
   
 
Nov 18, 2002 Snapple - Juicy -- Cristi Barnet
  Is Snapple.com made from the best stuff on earth?
   
 
Nov 11, 2002 Grey Goose - Spirited
  Grey Goose, the blind-taster's favorite vodka, celebrates a modern France online.
   
 
Nov 4, 2002 Tata - Wasteland
  India's Tata Group demonstrates that placing a logo on a non-descript website is not online branding.
   
 
Oct 28, 2002 Warner Bros - Lights, camera, distraction -- Ian Cocoran
  Thufferin Thuccotash, what are those wascally wabbits up to over at Warner Bros. online department?
   
 
Oct 21, 2002 Mercedes - slick -- Charlotte Jane Dyson
  Mercedes-Benz.co.uk cruises well beyond the average website.
   
 
Oct 14, 2002 IBM vs. Dell - The winner is...
  Dell and IBM: varying approaches to e-tailing.
   
 
Oct 7, 2002 LIC - boredom insured
  The Life Insurance Corp of India’s formidable and well-deserved reputation doesn’t appear to cover its website.
   
 
Sep 30, 2002 Benetton - divided
  The only thing shocking about Benetton’s site is the lack of merchandizing.
   
 
Sep 23, 2002 Acqua di Parma - golden -- Vivian Manning-Schaffel
  Do things run smoothly at Acqua di Parma?
   
 
Sep 16, 2002 DFW Airport - yee-haw!
  The DFW web site is a hub of branding information.
   
 
Sep 9, 2002 ING Group - void
  ING needs to invest more time in its site to effectively convey the global brand’s financial services.
   
 
Sep 2, 2002 Volkswagen - viewers wanted
  Does Volkswagen’s flawless attention to detail and engineering shine through on the Net?
   
 
Aug 26, 2002 Timex - flies
  Timex winds up using hi-tech to appeal to the Indian market.
   
 
Aug 19, 2002 UPS - delivers -- Charlotte Jane Dyson
  UPS.com presents a tidy package of customer service and communication.
   
 
Aug 12, 2002 CavinKare - blemish free
  The Indian FMCG brand competes with brands like Hindustan Lever and P&G for the massive Indian market share.
   
 
Aug 5, 2002 Cadburys - eggcellent -- Ian Cocoran
  Cadburys.com: Irresistible?
   
 
Jul 29, 2002 Samsonite - packed -- Ian Cocoran
  Does Samsonite.com have it in the bag?
   
 
Jul 22, 2002 MyYahoo - gets personal
  Customizing a spot on the web.
   
 
Jul 15, 2002 Noos - sage comme une image
  French cable provider Noos offers a good example of a corporate website.
   
 
Jul 1, 2002 Chiquita - ripe -- Jonathan Schneider
  Chiquita.com slips on some basic rules but overall seems just ripe for the web.
   
 
Jun 24, 2002 Wimbledon - ace -- Charlotte Jane Dyson
  We head to Wimbledon.com to see what all the racket’s about.
   
 
Jun 17, 2002 Fender - strumming along -- Ian Cocoran
  Fender.com may be more unplugged than amped, but overall it does a competent job of scaling the web.
   
 
Jun 10, 2002 Britney Spears - oops -- Charlotte Jane Dyson
  BritneySpears.com is empty and vacuous -- a perfect reflection.
   
 
Jun 3, 2002 Starbucks - decaffinated -- Charlotte Jane Dyson
  Does Starbucks.com deliver a virtual perk up to the wearied surfer?
   
 
May 27, 2002 Billabong - killer -- Ian Cocoran
  Virtual surfing on Billabong.com is a killer outing with only a few choppy moments.
   
 
May 20, 2002 Gillette - smooth -- Ian Cocoran
  Is Gillette.com cutting edge or dull?
   
 
May 13, 2002 Sony Style - low frequency
  SonyStyle.com needs to align its site with Sony’s overall brand strategy.
   
 
May 6, 2002 Hugo Boss - loading -- Charlotte Jane Dyson
  One can spend a lot of time at Hugoboss.com … most of it waiting for the download
   
 
Apr 29, 2002 EasyJet - fueled -- Ian Cocoran
  Is easyJet.com's reported soaring growth and substantial praise deserved?
   
 
Apr 22, 2002 Gloss.com - unblemished -- Vivian Manning-Schaffel
  Gloss.com creates a virtual cosmetics counter. But can it overcome the overwhelming customer need to test products?
   
 
Apr 15, 2002 La Perla - revealing -- Charlotte Jane Dyson
  We luxuriate on Italian underwear brand La Perla’s web site.
   
 
Apr 8, 2002 Häagen Dazs - pure pleasure -- Charlotte Jane Dyson
  Dip into Häagen-Dazs.com for a truly decadent experience.
   
 
Apr 1, 2002 Virgin Atlantic - experienced -- Charlotte Jane Dyson
  The transatlantic flight market may be losing altitude but Virgin-Atlantic.com is soaring through cyberspace.
   
 
Mar 25, 2002 Sothebys - an appraisal -- Vivian Manning-Schaffel
  Sotheby's seeks a wider audience in the everyman atmosphere of the Net, while steering clear of any of the scandal surrounding its hallowed name.
   
 
Mar 18, 2002 Star Wars - intergalactic -- Abram Sauer
  If George Lucas could set opening-weekend-records just by screening a movie of his dog relieving himself, what's he done on Starwars.com?
   
 
Mar 11, 2002 Mitsubishi - stalled -- Ian Cocoran
  The Mitsubishi.co.jp site guides the user effortlessly but leaves one with little impression of the brand itself.
   
 
Mar 4, 2002 Grolsch - swinging -- Ian Cocoran
  Groslch.com nurses away the shakes.
   
 
Feb 25, 2002 Jacuzzi - tepid -- Charlotte Jane Dyson
  How did Jacuzzi.com manage to make its whirlpool brand seem so… dry?
   
 
Feb 18, 2002 Hard Rock - rocks -- Ian Cocoran
  The HardRock.com grows beyond its café days into a veritable super group.
   
 
Feb 11, 2002 Zagat.com - Rates a 28 -- Abram Sauer
  How does Zagat.com rate online?
   
 
Feb 4, 2002 Hilton - reserved -- Ian Cocoran
  Despite a cold welcome, Hilton.com offers a clean, efficient site, in line with the offline brand.
   
 
Jan 28, 2002 Pirelli - burns rubber -- Charlotte Jane Dyson
  Does Pirelli burn rubber online?
   
 
Jan 21, 2002 JCrew.com - fashionably functional -- Vivian Manning-Schaffel
  Is J Crew's e-tail site made to order?
   
 
Jan 14, 2002 Bob the Builder - gets the job done -- Ian Cocoran
  What sort of site has Bob built on the Net?
   
 
Jan 7, 2002 M&M's - sweet -- Charlotte Jane Dyson
  M&M’s website is choc full of ideas, but shelf life can run short when marketing to kids.