Continued Tobacco Industry Deception
TobaccoFreedom.org uncovered a 1994 R.J. Reynolds tobacco company SECRET DOCUMENT describing the tobacco industry's strategy to use alternative publications to manipulate the preferences and behavior of American youth. The internal publication disclosed a new marketing approach referred to as Trend Influence Marketing (TIM). TIM abandons standard advertising campaigns and jumps directly into the arena of trying to "become the trend-maker." R.J. Reynolds and Philip Morris utilize TIM to increase the popularity of Camel and Marlboro cigarettes respectively.
A report published in the January 2002 American Journal of Public Health concluded that, "The tobacco industry has increased its use of bars and clubs as promotional venues and has used the alternative press to reach the young adults who frequent these establishments. This increased targeting of young adults may be associated with an increase in smoking among this group" [summary of report]. The Journal article confirms the effectiveness of TIM, yet fails to speak directly to the deception associated with the tobacco industry strategy.
This case study captures the historical development of Trend Influence Marketing in Albuquerque, New Mexico, beginning with the clandestine recruitment of smoking "hipsters" who surreptitiously peddle tobacco products to unsuspecting young adults, and tracks weekly tobacco industry penetration into the market using the "free" alternative publication, Weekly Alibi.
HISTORICAL DEVELOPMENT OF TIM
By the early 1990s tobacco industry executives were under intense pressure from anti-smoking advocacy groups. Education efforts had increased awareness among consumers about the illusions incorporated in traditional tobacco product advertising. Facing slowing sales of their tobacco products, the industry was looking for a new approach. TIM strategy acknowledges that "shoving products in the face of the consumer is no longer the successful way to infiltrate this market. Today's 'Generation X' consumer is most influenced by what he or she sees in the hands of friends, not by some stiff riding a horse in a magazine advertisement."
The key element of TIM is to conduct the 'aggressive advertising' covertly. "The minute someone blatantly pushes 'trendy,' it's not. Trend Influence Marketing is underground. For this program to be executed properly, we as a marketing company will appear almost invisible. Nothing that takes place can appear sales-oriented and everything we do will be perceived as cool. The objective is to have 'hipsters' feel as though smoking Camel is their idea, that they started the trend."
R.J. Reynolds stated further that to reach the hipsters we must "speak their language, dress their dress, and walk their walk." We will recruit "our field marketing staff from the 'inside.'" The original R.J. Reynolds' strategy is titled, "Camel Club." KBA Lifestyle Marketing developed the program. KBA states, "We will be recruiting our field marketing staff from the 'inside:' people who have worked in and around the nightclub/bar business and trendy community" [see SECRET DOCUMENT (p.3)].
In the May 6-12th and 13-19th, 1999 editions of the Weekly Alibi, KBA Lifestyle Marketing posted this employment ad. All TIM efforts will be reinforced by savvy, localized alternative media campaigns -- the Weekly Alibi is an example of a local alternative media publication.
ROLE OF ALTERNATIVE PUBLICATIONS
The promoters of Camel cigarettes noted "there are many local, national and international newspapers and magazines that hipsters read to follow the trends. These media vehicles are a critical part of the network to help the spread of trends... These free periodicals are distributed at most trendy nighclubs and are found in the stores and coffeehouses that the club crowd frequents... Aligning Camel with certain publications by way of advertising lends immediate hip credibility to the brand."
Most U.S. cities have alternative publications. These tabloid-type newspapers are generally free to the public, widely distributed and published on a weekly basis. Publications like the Weekly Alibi are willing partners to this public deception. Frequently, the Weekly Alibi runs a self-promotion claiming their publication is, "The Best Paper Money Can't Buy." Weekly editions are free to the public, as revenue comes from the multitude of advertising. Money does buy influence between the covers. The Weekly Alibi is free and trendy. Many young people under age 18 read the weekly editions -- and there are numerous tobacco advertisements per issue.
The Weekly Alibi boasts a large readership in the Albuquerque area. They report (April 15-21st, 1999) they print 45,000 copies; each copy is read by an estimated 2.67 individuals equaling an estimated 120,000 readers. There are 650 outlets for their publication city wide. Kids and teens read the Weekly Alibi. The Weekly Alibi "targets every Generation, from the Baby Busters to the Baby Boomers. Distributed throughout Alq, Rio Rancho, Corrales, East Mountain, Bernalillo, Placitas, Santa Fe and Los Lunas."
The Weekly Alibi is "available at restaurants, grocery stores, college campuses, select retailers and various downtown locations. Coverage includes politics, humor, film, opinion, music, art and the most comprehensive entertainment guide in Nuevo Mexico. Arriba!"
Philip Morris TV Advertisement
While the tobacco industry announces publicly they do not target youth under 18, they aggressively promote and market their products in publication that do target America's youth.
Philip Morris is currently spending millions of dollars on a public relations campaign. They tell America that "Things Are Changing." This current tobacco advertising and promotional strategy demonstrates things are not changing. The tobacco industry pretends to wear new clothes, but they still prey on America's youth.
Today, the tobacco industry admits smoking kills. On July 21, 2000, Philip Morris (PM) ran full-page advertisements in newspapers across the nation. In their communication, PM states, "There is overwhelming medical and scientific consensus that cigarette smoking causes lung cancer, heart disease, emphysema and other serious diseases in smokers. Smokers are far more likely to develop serious diseases, like lung cancer, than non-smokers. There is no 'safe' cigarette."
Philip Morris TV Advertisement
PM commented directly about youth smoking, "We do not want children to smoke; youth smoking is a serious problem and we want to be part of the solution." PM also addressed the issue of tobacco and nicotine addiction: "Cigarette smoking is addictive... It can be very difficult to quit smokng, but this should not deter smokers who want to quit from trying to do so."
During the landmark Florida smokers lawsuit, the Brown & Williamson representative had this message for the jury, "I sincerely apologize to you [to sick smokers] on behalf of myself and on behalf of the 7,200 workers at Brown & Williamson."
CAMEL CLUB EXPOSED
Camel's logo is displayed a number of times. There is a smiling, happy woman in the lower left corner listed as "Some Gal." She is quoted saying, "Let's be happy and feel the joy at Ned's."
Following the TIM strategy, the page highlights some of Albuquerque's perceived trendy spots. This includes Gecko's, Brewster's Pub and The Martini Grille. The page also features a number of Neighborhood Bars, various Live Music Venues and top Dance Clubs.
The uncovered R.J. Reynolds' CONFIDENTIAL document shows the transparency of the TIM strategy. This document was a trial exhibit in the Mangini case (Mangini v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company, Civil Case No. 939359). Is this strategy effective? Sales of Camel cigarettes skyrocketed through the mid-90s. Furthermore, Marlboro now has a similar strategy...
Weekly Alibi: August 26-September 1,1999
-- click on image to enlarge --
PHILIP MORRIS ADDS TO DECEPTION
The Marlboro connection is clearly evident. Following the TIM template, the advertisement highlights many of Albuquerque's trendy spots. These include Boot Scoots Nite Club, Howie's Sports Page, Sneakerz, Two Minute Warning, Sunset Bar & Grill and Metropolis.
Weekly Alibi: August 12-18th,1999
-- click on image to enlarge --
TRACKING INDUSTRY MARKETING PENETRATION
|Edition||Product||Product||Comments and Notes|
|Nov8-Nov14||Camel p.35||Marlboro p.29|
|Sept6-Sept12||Camel p.24||Marlboro p.19|
|Aug9-Aug15||Camel p.41||Marlboro p.33|
|July19-July25||Camel p.28-29||Marlboro p.19|
|July12-July18||Camel p.41||CAMEL & Jokers p.39|
|July5-July11||Camel p.27||Marlboro p.21|
|June7-June13||Camel p.35||Marlboro p.29|
|May17-May23||Camel p.47||Cigarette Outlet p.28|
|May10-May16||Camel p.44||Marlboro p.49|
|May3-May9||Camel p.32||Dirt Cheap Cigs p.11|
|Apr26-May2||Camel p.49||Dirt Cheap Cigs p.11|
|Apr19-Apr25||Camel p.49||Marlboro p.43||Dirt Cheap Cigs p.11|
|Apr12-Apr18||Camel p.35*||Socyer "Ouch" p.40||*7 Pleasures of the Casbah|
|Apr5-Apr11||Camel p.108*||Marlboro p. 101||*7 Pleasures of the Casbah|
|Mar29-Apr4||Camel p.35||Dirt Cheap Cigs p.17|
|Mar8-Mar14||Camel p.28||Marlboro p.25|
|Feb8-Feb14||Camel p.41||Dirt Cheap Cigs p.11|
|Dec21-Dec27||Camel p.53||Marlboro p.21|
|Dec14-Dec20||Camel p.48||Marlboro p.40|
|Dec6-Dec13||Camel p.41||Marlboro p.34-35*||Two-page "holiday" special|
|Nov30-Dec5||Camel p.40||Marlboro p.31||Dirt Cheap Cigarettes p.9|
|Nov16-Nov22||Camel p.46||Marlboro p.35,41*||*Win Trip to the Marlboro Ranch|
|Nov9-Nov15||Camel p.41||Marlboro p.35|
|Nov2-Nov8||Camel p.52||Marlboro p.40*,45||*Win Trip to the Marlboro Ranch|
|Oct19-Oct25||Camel p.40||Marlboro p.35*,46||*Win Trip to the Marlboro Ranch|
|Oct12-Oct18||Camel p.49||Marlboro p.25,48*||*Win Trip to the Marlboro Ranch|
|Oct5-Oct11||Camel p.54,55||Marlboro p.43*,49||*You Get a Lot to Like|
|Sep28-Oct4||Camel p.46||Marlboro p.11*,41||*Full Flavor Kings|
|Sep21-Sep27||Camel p.49,50||Marlboro p.21,37,43*||*TONIC with Special Guest STIR|
|Sep14-Sep20||Camel p.35||Marlboro p.27*||*TONIC with Special Guest STIR|
|Sep7-Sep13||Camel p.49||Marlboro p.37,43*||*TONIC with Special Guest STIR|
|Aug31-Sep6||Camel p.40*||Marlboro p.33||*Turkish Gold, dirtcheapcigs p.11|
|Aug24-Aug30||Camel p.22*,25,28**||Marlboro p.19||*DJ Oona, **DJ Leo|
|Aug17-Aug23||Camel p.70,74*,78||Marlboro p.63,79||*SuperJane -- Weekly Alibi Sponsored|
|Aug10-Aug16||Camel p.36,40**||Marlboro p.18*,31,45||*Racing School,**SuperJane|
|Aug3-Aug9||Camel p.40||Marlboro p.35*||*A Night of Live Music|
|Jul27-Aug2||Camel p.40*||Marlboro p.33||*Pleasure to Burn|
|Jul20-Jul26||Camel p.53*||*Turkish Gold|
|Jul13-Jul19||Camel p.45*||Marlboro p.37||*Turkish Gold|
|Jul6-Jul12||Camel p.41*||*Turkish Gold|
|Jun29-Jul5||Camel p.52*||Marlboro p.49||*Turkish Gold, cheapcigs p.34|
|Jun22-Jun28||Camel p.38*||*Turkish Gold|
|Jun15-Jun21||Camel p.52*||Marlboro p.40,p.45**||*Turkish Gold,**Marlboro Ranch|
|Jun1-Jun7||Camel p.52||Marlboro 31*,40**,45||*new menthols,**Marlboro Ranch|
|May25-May31||Camel p.30,33||Marlboro 25*,35**||*new menthols,**Marlboro Ranch|
|May18-May24||Camel p.49||Marlboro p.45*, 55||*new menthol product|
|May11-May17||Camel p.40||Marlboro p.33*||*new menthol product|
|May4-May10||Camel p.55||Marlboro p.48*, 63||*new menthol product|
|Apr27-May3||Camel p.40*||*exotic blends, pleasure to burn|
|Apr20-Apr26||Camel p.44,46*||*exotic blends, pleasure to burn|
|Apr13-Apr19||Camel p.35*||*exotic blends, pleasure to burn|
|Apr6-Apr12||Camel p.85*||Marlboro p.80||*exotic blends, pleasure to burn|
|Mar30-Apr5||Camel p.38*||Marlboro p.32-33||*exotic blends, pleasure to burn|
|Mar23-Mar29||Camel p.35*||*exotic blends, pleasure to burn|
|Mar9-Mar15||Camel p.58*||*limited supply: exotic pleasure p.63|
|Feb17-23||Camel p.46||Marlboro p.41|
|Feb10-16||Camel p.40||Marlboro p.35*||*new Marlboro feature, Cowboy's Place|
|Feb3-Feb9||Camel p.40*||*more exotic pleasure p.46|
|Jan13-Jan19||Camel p.44-45*||New Product Promotion -- Exotic line|
|Jan6-Jan12||No tobacco ads|
|Dec16-22||Camel p.63||Marlboro p.51*||*additional two page Seasonal Promo|
|Dec2-8||Camel p.46*||Marlboro p.40||*full page color NY's Eve Promo|
|Nov18-Nov24||Camel p.40||Marlboro p.33|
|Nov11-Nov17||Camel p.40||New item: Marlboro Racing School Promotion|
|Nov4-Nov10||Camel p.40||Marlboro p.46||Marlboro Ranch Promotion|
|Oct21-Oct27||Camel p.46||Marlboro p.41||Marlboro Ranch Promotion|
|Oct7-Oct13||Camel p.40||Marlboro p.45||New item: Marlboro Ranch Promotion|
|Sep9-Sep15||Camel p.45||Marlboro p.40|
|Sep2-Sep8||Camel p.41|| |
|Aug26-Sep1||Camel p.53||Marlboro p.61|
|Aug12-Aug18||Camel p.40||Marlboro p.48|
|Jul29-Aug4||Camel p.40||Marlboro p.33|
|Jul15-Jul21||Camel p.56||Marlboro p.49|
|Jul1-Jul7||Camel p.35||Marlboro p.41|
|Jun10-Jun16||no TIM||no TIM|
|May27-Jun2||no TIM||no TIM|
|May13-May19||no TIM||no TIM||KBA Recruitment Ad p.61|
|May6-May12||Marlboro p.37||KBA Recruitment Ad p.56|
TobaccoFreedom.org asks respectfully that the Weekly Alibi cease and desist aiding this tobacco industry conspiracy. As even the tobacco industry now recognizes the dangers of smoking, and apologizes for their conduct, TobaccoFreedom.org asks the Weekly Alibi to drop all tobacco advertising and promotion. [Another example of the tobacco industry deception.]
TobaccoFreedom.org recognizes that the Weekly Alibi is not alone in this public deception. We provide a listing here of participating restaurants, bars and night clubs. It is time to stop putting money before morals and civic responsibility.