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health matters

Philip Morris Isn't Laughing at John Oliver’s Takedown of Big Tobacco

Posted by Mark J. Miller on February 17, 2015 02:14 PM

John Oliver Jeff lung tobacco

John Oliver, the bespectacled British comedian and host of HBO’s "Last Week Tonight,” spent a good part of his show on Sunday showcasing to what ends Big Tobacco will go to keep its profits up despite continued data on the health risks involved with smoking.

Oliver highlighted lawsuits filed by Philip Morris International, the world's biggest tobacco manufacturer and parent company to brands inlcuding Marlboro, in a bid to stop plain packaging, including threatening to file against bigger countries such as Australia and smaller nations including Paraguay and Togo to keep those countries from creating any kinds of barriers from residents of the world seeing its packaging, logos, and marketing materials.

The show also introduced the character of Jeff, a diseased lung in a cowboy hat that recalled the Marlboro Man, to “help” the countries and Big Tobacco come to a compromise. As part of a mock public health campaign, the show's producers bought bus-stop ads in Togo with Jeff and also sent a load of T-shirts for distribution in the country.

In addition, Oliver encouraged viewers to use the hashtag #JeffWeCan, which has been burning up Twitter and Facebook.Continue reading...

branding together

Big Tobacco Grows as Reynolds, Lorillard Merger Seeks New Industry Opportunities

Posted by Dale Buss on July 15, 2014 04:46 PM

Reynolds American and Lorillard are combining to make for a tougher competitior in a declining industry. But will the combination of the two tobacco giants be able to do more than that?

After a year of talks, Reynolds agreed to buy its smaller rival, Lorillard, for $27.4 billion, creating a company whose tobacco brands include classics such as Camel and Pall Mall as well as Natural American Spirit and Grizzly smokeless tobacco. Reynolds also has launched the Vuse e-cigarette.

But even in a business as crippled as selling cigarettes, the combining parties had to make some antitrust concessions. They sold a group of brands—including Cool, Salem and Winston cigarettes and Blu e-cigarettes—to another player, Imperial Tobacco, for $7 billion.Continue reading...

brands under fire

Camel Cigarettes Under Fire for Targeting Kids—Again

Posted by Mark J. Miller on May 31, 2013 03:32 PM

The Camel cigarette brand has long been the subject of scrutiny over its ad tactics. Its controversial cartoon mascot, Joe Camel, was abandoned in 1997 after a 10-year run as ad watchdogs feared that he would entice youngsters. Back in 2010, the brand got some grief for introducing Camel Orbs, a mint-like tablet that contains ground tobacco with cinnamon or mint flavoring. The tablets could have been easily mistaken for candy by kids, but the product remains on the market today. 

Now Camel is getting another round of rage from such folks as the American Heart Association, American Lung Association, and a few other health organizations for a new ad that they feel is going against the 1998 Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement that prohibits tobacco manufacturers from advertising to kids, according to the Associated Press. The group has sent a letter to Tobacco Committee Co-Chairs of the National Association of Attorneys General to ask them to investigate.Continue reading...


Gucci Gucci Who? RJ Reynolds Disowns Kreayshawn Camel Pack

Posted by Abe Sauer on June 16, 2011 07:00 PM

Gucci Gucci is a parasitically catchy tune with a (NSFW) video that has already rung up over 3 million views. The track is singlehandedly credited with landing the unknown and largely untested Oakland artist Kreayshawn (the self-styled 21-year-old 'creation' whose real name is Natassia Zolot) a $1 million recording contract with Sony.

And after pop artists Spears, Ke$ha, Lopez and Lady Gaga filled their recent videos with product, the anthem's chorus "Gucci Gucci, Louis Louis, Fendi Fendi, Prada" is at once an endorsement, and an indictment, of commercialism in pop.

As Kreayshawn recently told Complex magazine, "It’s not really to say ‘F**k Louis’ [Vuitton] or ‘F**k Gucci.’ I have a Louis belt. Basically, it’s saying don’t let the labels make you who you are. Sprinkle it in there, but have your own style."Continue reading...

brand news

In the News: Amazon, Coach, LinkedIn & more

Posted by Shirley Brady on May 24, 2011 09:00 AM

In the News

Allstate and other insurers brace for disaster claims.

Amazon finds a fierce bidder in Liberty Media's John Malone.

Armani bucks trend, vows to stay private.

Boys & Girls Clubs of America embrace social media.

British Airways among European airlines impacted by Iceland volcanic ash.

Camel Snus target smoke-restricted NYC.

Coach finds buyers returning to priciest bags.Continue reading...

no kidding around

Holy Smoke! New Study Says Kids Smoke Because of Ads

Posted by Barry Silverstein on January 18, 2011 02:00 PM

A report appearing in the February issue of Pediatrics magazine confirms what those in the advertising business already know — tobacco advertising can be highly influential on young people.

The survey of German public school students showed that 46% of young people who saw the most ads for cigarettes were more likely to try smoking than those who saw no tobacco ads. The study was conducted with children age 10 to 17 years old.

To those in the tobacco business, the new study is cause for anything but celebration.Continue reading...

brands under fire

Lights Out for Light Cigarettes

Posted by Barry Silverstein on June 22, 2010 11:15 AM

With the focus squarely on Big Oil, specifically BP, it's easy to forget about Big Tobacco. But June 22 is historic, because today, the U.S. tobacco industry is required to stop selling and marketing "light," "low-tar," and "mild" cigarettes, in compliance with the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act of 2009.

Research shows "light" cigarettes are no less deadly than regular cigarettes. While "light" and similarly branded cigarettes are no longer allowed in the U.S., leave it to Big Tobacco to find a way around the law — they're simply rebranding their products.

Now Camel Lights are called Camel Blues. Marlboro Lights and Ultra-Lights have been re-named Marlboro Gold and Silver. Pall Mall Red, Pall Mall Blue, and Pall Mall Orange are code names for regular, light, and light menthol, respectively.Continue reading...

no kidding around

Hey, Kids - That's Not Candy

Posted by Barry Silverstein on April 23, 2010 01:03 PM

The tobacco industry just won't give up. Increasingly blocked from marketing cigarettes to youth, R.J. Reynolds Tobacco has been test marketing Camel Orbs, a mint-like tablet that contains ground tobacco with cinnamon or mint flavoring. Billed as "dissolvable tobacco," the product looks like Tic Tac breath mints, according to some critics.

Reynolds introduced the edible pellets in three U.S. cities last year, running ads in such magazines as People, Rolling Stone, and Wired.

But controversy is erupting now because of a research study published this week in Pediatrics, the journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics.

The study warns of the potential for child poisonings after researchers "found that Camel Orbs had an extremely high level of absorbable nicotine because of the alkalinity of the product," notes the New York Times.Continue reading...

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