A German court has already barred Marlboro for using its “Be Marlboro” campaign, but a coalition of advocacy groups led by the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids is looking to make the cigarette brand and its parent company, Philip Morris, cease the campaign completely.
A report issued Wednesday called “You’re the Target
” claims that the imagery from the campaign, which launched in 2011 and is now running in 50 countries, is clearly meant to appeal to teens.
A press release about the report states:
The report details how [Philip Morris] uses marketing tactics in its “Be Marlboro” campaign that are effective at reaching youth and have been banned in many countries.
These include advertising on billboards, bus stops and outside retail stores that associate Marlboro with risk-taking, exploration, freedom and defying authority. Ads feature images of attractive young people partying, falling in love, playing music and engaging in adventure sports such as snowboarding and surfing.
In response to the report, Philip Morris issued a statement to Advertising Age
, which said, in part:
Our Marlboro campaign, like all of our marketing and advertising, is aimed exclusively at adult smokers and is conducted in compliance with local regulations and internal marketing policies. Allegations to the contrary are unfounded and based on a subjective interpretation.
The statement also said that the company’s advertising is “intended to inform current consumers of our brands in their choice and encourage smokers of competing brands to switch to our products."
Philip Morris has a page on its website
dedicated to its advertising and marketing guidelines, which states, “We do not market to children or use images that are aimed at or have particular appeal to minors.”
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The agency behind the ads, Leo Burnett, didn’t comment on the report.