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A Pack of Lies: The Truth About Cigarette Advertising [videorecording] Pollay, Richard 1997-03-15

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228229Richard PollayTRICKS OF THE TOBACCO TRADEProfessor Richard PollayFaculty of Commerce and Business AdministrationUniversity of British ColumbiaMarch 15, 1997Biographical Note: An internationally recognized authority on how cigarette com-panies design and use advertising to attract and keep new smokers, Professor Pollayhas served as an expert witness in several recent lawsuits against the tobacco in-dustry in Canada and the United States. He currently serves as consultant to theU.S. Surgeon General’s Office.Tobacco is an inflammatory issue.  I recently saw an editorial in aToronto paper that described the health community pressing for to-bacco control as “nico-nazis.”  On the other side of the fence, I’veseen advocates describing the tobacco industry as “duMurderers”instead of duMaurier.  I’ve seen otherwise distinguished groups likethe Fraser Institute publish what can only be called naive rubbish.  Iguess I should be understanding of their naivete for I too was naiveabout ten years ago when I first got into this.My intellectual background is in social science.  I have de-grees in consumer behaviour, and my Ph.D. work is in applied socialpsychology.   I took an interest in the social and cultural effects ofadvertising and looked at its history.  I was in a position to know afair amount, at least more than the average person, about cigaretteadvertising.  But if you had asked me a decade ago about it, I wouldn’thave had a lot to say, and I would have probably assumed that theindustry position was reasonably plausible.It is their position that this is a mature market, and that con-sequently they’re only interested in brand switchers, and not particu-larly interested in starters or stopping people from quitting.  It’s alegal product sold in legal ways, they claim, and their advertising isreasonable. The new forms of the product are somehow new andimproved and superior to the old, traditional forms of the product.230I’ve learned a lot in the last decade, not only through mystudy of the ads in various archives I’ve accessed and the many aca-demic studies  I’ve engaged in, but also in the course of  trials.  ThereI’ve had access to the trade work — that is the kind of market re-search studies that the firms do, the documents that spell out in cold-blooded detail the targeting and tactics of the industry.  I’ve learneda lot about the tricks of the tobacco trade in what might be appropri-ately called “the dying art of cigarette advertising.”My naivete was stunning in the sense that I didn’t realizequite how bad the tobacco problem was from a medical perspective.I didn’t realize how important advertising was as an element in theperpetual success of the industry.  (They’re still earning record prof-its.)  And I didn’t realize how impotent was the whole regulatoryeffort.  You get the impression that this is a heavily regulated indus-try.  Just to give you one fact, there is no law with respect to cigaretteadvertising in Canada.  We have a law pending now before the Sen-ate, but at the moment there is no law.  The only federal law wasfound unconstitutional recently.Tonight I’m going to show you lots of examples from Ameri-can and Canadian advertising and public relations material, both oldand new.  Some of it’s shocking and stunning, some of it’s laugh-able, at least if you have a dark sense of humour.  I’m going to havea bit of help from some testimonials and confessions from variouspeople: Pat Reynolds of the R. J. Reynolds family, Walter Winchell,Victor Denoble, a research scientist at Phillip Morris, Victor Crawfordof the Tobacco Institute, ex-Surgeon General C. Everett Koop, andso on.  Hopefully some of this will amuse you, and some of it willamaze you.  There’ll be both some stunning facts and some subtlepsychology in all of this.  A lot of it may be incredible, but I vouchfor its truth.I became very curious when I first got enlisted as an expertwitness because within the first two weeks of my name being givento the tobacco industry as witness, suddenly my phone acted strangelyand my garbage seemed to be picked over.  Most stunning of all, myoffice mail disappeared from my mail box and then reappeared afterthree hours — which was exactly the three-hour window of time231Richard Pollaywhen I was scheduled to be in a seminar.   I’ve been in the sameoffice and faculty building for 26 years and I have never had thatexperience before or since.  I asked all the secretaries and colleagues;no one knew a thing about it.  The lawyer I was working with in theCippilone case said that this is no coincidence; this is because you’vesigned up as an expert witness, and moreover this is not just to findout the dirt about you — if there is any dirt to be found — this is tointimidate you.  This is what’s called in the spook trade “leavingfootprints.”  They want you to feel that you’re under surveillance inorder to feel intimidated.  Well it certainly did raise my adrenalinelevel, but instead of getting weak in the knees, it stiffened my spineand provoked my curiosity.  I was very eager to know what it wasthat they had to hide from a marketing professor from a businessschool.  If everything they said is true, I should be the most sympa-thetic kind of person they could encounter, and yet they were givingme a lot of heat.Diseases and DenialsA large part of my naivete was around the medical question.  I knewtobacco use was risky, and everyone knows that there are some healthhazards to smoking, but I grossly underestimated the magnitude,variety, and probabilities of encountering these health hazards.  I’vedone some research that indicates that only about ten percent of eventhe best educated college students have a reasonably accurate per-ception of these hazards.  We in B.C. have the best likelihood ofhaving a reasonable judgement because we now have this kind ofdata confronting us in retail settings.  But despite this sort of warningsystem, most people do not fully recognize the hazards.  Smokingwill kill more people than alcohol, AIDS, illicit drugs, car accidents,murder, and suicides all combined.  We’re talking in Canada aboutroughly 40,000 deaths a year, and 435,000 annual fatalities was thelast data I saw for the US.  It is certainly well over a thousand a day.Imagine if we had a collision of two jumbo jets and a thou-sand people died in that accident and that happened again tomorrow,and the next day, and the next day.  How many days would that232happen before there was an incredible hue and cry for regulationsand safety standards?  How many people would go to the airport andcontinue to fly in those conditions?  But in the case of tobacco, it’sbecome commonplace with its relatively invisible consequences.  Wedon’t see a thousand teenagers falling over dead out behind the schoolyard when they’re first sampling it.  We would certainly take someaction if we saw it that way.  But because it’s delayed in time andbecause it’s remote in terms of cause and effect, we aren’t very reac-tive to it.There’s a whole toxic trail of disease sites in the body thatsmokers encounter; certainly all the cancer sites because of the sup-pression of immune reactions.  Figure 1 vividly shows the differentkinds of disease sites.  The thing that’s interesting to me about thispage is that it appeared in a Canadian women’s magazine, CanadianLiving, the very first month in which the cigarette advertising stopped.It had not appeared before then, and does not appear in Americanmagazines.  The minute that the advertising comes back in, it disap-pears.  Media editors tend not to bite the hands that feed them.Not all of the effects of tobacco use are fatal, as Figure 2’slimp cigarette connoting impotence displays.  [I once took a tour ofthe Phillip Morris factory and got a Marlboro pen and it’s quite over-sized.  At the time I didn’t understand why, but now I think it’s com-pensation behaviour.]  There are a large number of obvious toxinsand poisons in cigarettes which occur as the combustion products ofsmoke.  There are 38 known or suspected carcinogens in smoke.There are also additives; things like pesticides that are agricultural intheir origin, and also some 600 chemicals that the industry uses asflavourings, humectants, and numerous additives for various pur-poses.  No typical consumer knows anything about these, as thereare no disclosures, package warnings, or anything like that in thisproduct, unlike most products.  To give you an idea of the magnitudeof this, you may remember various incidents about the pesticide Alarin apples, benzene in some Perrier that led to a product recall, andcyanide found in some grapes in Philadelphia a couple years ago.  Asingle cigarette has more benzene than was found in the Perrier; infact, a hundred times more benzene.  A single cigarette has more233Richard PollayFIGURE 1234FIGURE 2235Richard Pollaycyanide than was found in Philadelphia.  I think that these facts cutboth ways, suggesting that we’re under-reacting to the problem oftobacco, and maybe overreacting to some of those situations for theseother products.Of the large number of additives used, the most importantone of course is nicotine.  Nicotine is added to the product in con-centrated form because it’s extracted in the processing of tobacco.Cigarettes are not an agricultural product that’s simply shredded.Tobacco is put through a process, not unlike making paper, whereit’s sprayed with chemicals, then puffed up to affect its burning prop-erties, and nicotine added back into it.  Figure 3 is an ad for a tradesupplier to the tobacco industry which says, “Kimberly-Clark offersour reconstitution process that permits adjustments of nicotine toyour exact requirements.”  If you think about what the nature of theproduct line is for a tobacco firm, it’s the regular, mild, ultra-mild,light, menthol - the various forms of a brand, such as Players.  Theyvary along nicotine and tar delivery levels.  That is, nicotine is adesign factor in the manufacture of cigarettes and is very much sub-FIGURE 3236ject to quality control.  Nicotine is important because it is only nico-tine that produces satisfaction, brand loyalty and repeat customerpatronage because of its addictive properties.  Nicotine is also verytoxic; it’s more toxic than cyanide.  It’s used as a pesticide itself.  It’sso toxic that there’s enough nicotine in a single cigarette to kill a150-pound man if it were injected intravenously.  We inhale it insmall doses because the body can’t absorb large doses, as large doseswould produce a violent toxic reaction.  As a drug, the pattern ofnicotine consumption is frequent inhalation of small doses rather thanan injection like one would use for other addictive drugs such asheroin.The term addiction here is completely scientific.  There’s awhole Surgeon-General’s report that established this fact, so this isnot lay terminology.  Marlboro has another ingredient: ammonia.They claim it’s used for taste, although if anyone’s sniffed an am-monia bottle recently it’s hard to believe that it’s for taste purposes.So what is meant by ammonia affecting taste?  Because of its basecharacteristics, ammonia releases nicotine.  Nicotine in a normal ciga-rette gets into the blood stream and into the brain in about sevenseconds; inhalation is a very speedy way for drug absorption.  Withammonia present, it’s even faster.  In popular terminology, you get amuch better “hit.”  This is the same biochemistry as free-basing co-caine.  Ammonia is added to the product in order to make nicotinemore biologically available to the smoker; i.e. the nicotine uptake ismuch more quick and impactful.I want you to hear from the research director, Victor Denoble,who ran Phillip Morris’ nicotine laboratory.Tobacco companies say you should be allowed tomake up your own mind about cigarettes.  Why thendon’t they want you to have all the facts you need?For instance, one tobacco company conducted re-search that proved nicotine has properties of a drugof abuse.  Overnight the company shut down theproject and then covered up the results.  How do Iknow so much about this suppressed information?  I’m237Richard PollayVictor Denoble, the scientist who directed the re-search.The insiders are often able to give very telling testimony.His laboratory work was quite interesting.  He was looking at otherdrugs in combination with nicotine and found that acetaldehyde incombination with nicotine really added to the reinforcing propertiesof nicotine.  They also found that the optimal level of balance be-tween these two drugs was in a very narrow range and that Marlborofell outside of this range.  After he was fired, Marlboro increased theacetaldehyde content to bring it into the optimal range.  He just (Janu-ary 1997) testified to that effect in the Tolman hearings in Massa-chusetts.  Here’s a quote from another insider.My name is Patrick Reynolds.  My grandfather, R. J.Reynolds, founded the tobacco company which nowmanufacturers Camels, Winstons, and Salems.  We’veall heard the tobacco industry say that there are noill effects caused by smoking.  Well we have plenty ofcigarette-caused disease and death right in the R. J.Reynolds family itself.  My grandfather, R. J. Reynolds,chewed tobacco and died of cancer.  My father, R. J.Reynolds, Jr., smoked heavily and died of emphysema.My mother smoked and had emphysema and heartdisease, and two of my aunts, also heavy smokers,died of emphysema and cancer.  Three of my olderbrothers who smoke have emphysema.  I smoked forten years and I have small airways lung disease.  Nowtell me, do you think the cigarette companies are truth-ful when they tell you that smoking isn’t harmful?What do you think?Smoking is a habit of addiction.  This business about addic-tion and nicotine is not news.  It may be news to us, and it may benews that is just now coming before the courts, but within the trade ithas been well understood for a long time.  So what do we do about238this kind of medical problem?  Unfortunately very little.  In contrastto the war on drugs where we destroy crops, execute pushers, andrehabilitate users, here we subsidize the crops, exonerate the push-ers, and blame the users.  I have in front of me, for example, a boxthat contains a product strictly prohibited under the Hazardous Prod-ucts Act.  Inside is a toy bunny and a pack of Players cigarettes.  It’sthe bunny that’s regulated under the Hazardous Products Act, notthe cigarettes.  Cigarettes are exempt from all the meaningful legis-lation.  Why is that?  Well I think that’s a big and complex question,but part of the answer is the tobacco industry’s lobbying power.Advertising’s Smoke ScreenI’m going to shift now to the advertising promoting tobacco.   Wesee headlines about crack and that’s a problem, but tobacco is beingpraised and promoted, yet the fact is tobacco will kill a hundred timesas many kids as crack.  Our sports magazines are advertising ve-hicles for cigarettes; in women’s magazines, cigarettes are made tolook stylish; our news magazines in Canada talk about the glory ofsport and, in the same breath, their front and back covers all promotecigarettes.  Articles address the silent killer of hypertension, but dothey talk about tobacco?  They do not.  They tend to get suppressed.Why?  Because magazines like Newsweek are busy courting the ad-vertising income.  Figure 4 shows an ad directed to the tobacco in-dustry in order to sell Newsweek as an advertising vehicle to them.So Newsweek raises the question of “does TV tell it straight?”  Ithink it’s fair to ask “does Newsweek tell it straight?”   There’s beenlots of studies that show that media managers, like editors, do notbite the hands that feed them.  There’s an old limerick we used tolearn in marketing classes that said:There was a young lady from KentWho said she knew what it meantWhen men asked her to dineGave her champagne and wine.She knew what it meant, but she went.239Richard PollayFIGURE 4240So it is with the media managers.  They know what’s in-volved when they accept tobacco advertising revenue.  They don’thave to be beaten over the head in order to play down tobacco storiesand not point the finger of blame and shame at the tobacco industry.Advertising for tobacco products has been going on for years.One old ad claimed that “20,679 physicians say Lucky’s are lessirritating.”  Another ad was shocking at the time because of its openlytargeting of women.  It seemed like everyone smoked, and even ath-letes smoked in great numbers.  Movie stars, of course, were verycommonly seen as smokers.  One ad talked about “the ounce of pre-vention that was worth a pound of cure.”  This Phillip Morris cam-paign is interesting for a couple reasons.  The “ounce of prevention”they’re talking about is diethylene glycol.  It had been used in a phar-maceutical product in the 1930s and was withdrawn after a hundredpeople died.  Instead it was used in tobacco products, as it affects thesweetness, moisture and burning properties of tobacco.  If that namesounds familiar, it’s because you use ethylene glycol as the anti-freeze in your car; the sweet green stuff that you use is a similarchemical.  The FTC tried to prosecute this campaign but it took al-most twenty years before a judgement was rendered.  By that time,of course, the campaign was long in the dust bin of history, so it wasa moot point.  It was very difficult to prosecute because if you readthe fine print, it says, as a lawyer would emphasize: “no curativepower is claimed.”  But, in bolder headlines, you read this “ounce ofprevention” business.During the late 1940s and early 1950s very explicit verbalclaims were made, including selling phrases like: “guards againstthroat scratch,” “just what the doctor ordered,” “ten months of scien-tific evidence,” and “inhale to your heart’s content.”  This last ex-hortation is particularly ironic given what we now know about heartand stroke disease.  In fact, it’s not lung cancer or even other lungailments like chronic obstructive lung disease or emphysema thatare the primary health problems for smokers.  It is the circulatoryimpacts — heart attacks and strokes — that take out most smokers.The estimates are now that roughly one third of chronic smokers will241Richard Pollaysuffer fatal consequences as a result of their smoking.  They’ll tendto die twenty years prematurely; that is, they’ll die in their 50s and60s instead of living into their 70s or 80s, compared to a cohort.Perhaps the most infamous campaign was: “More doctorssmoke Camels than any other cigarette according to a recent nationwide survey.”  How did they get this data?  The industry was pre-pared to defend this ad because they had survey results to supportthis claim.  They had gathered that survey data at the National Con-vention of the American Medical Association in New York City.They asked doctors as they left the convention what brand of ciga-rettes was in their pocket and, lo and behold, a large number of themhad Camels.  Why?  Because before the convention began, they wentinto every hotel room and left a free carton of Camels.  And so as thedoctors exhausted whatever they might have been carrying, theyended up with Camels.  Now we should not lose sight of the factthough that in those days the majority of doctors would have beensmokers, as the majority of adults in all walks of life would havebeen, regardless of social class or education.It’s time America!  I’m Walter Winchell.  Mr. andMrs. United States, the topic of very great interestthis week was the controversy over cigarettes andcancer of the lung.  Never was any newspaperman’sresponsibility to others and his own integrity to him-self a heavier burden than mine tonight when I tellyou the facts as I know them for and against the ciga-rette now on trial for its life.  Against the cigarette isthis evidence:  First, a series of studies based on thequestioning of victims of lung cancer resulted in thisfinding: everyone of the studies reported that there isan association between excessive smoking and can-cer of the lung.  I mean excessive smoking, not ordi-nary smoking.  Second, cigarette tar produces can-cer in 50% of the mice tainted with it.  [This is in the1950s.]  Now whether or not this is a proven test I donot know.  Third, some lung surgeons who operated242in certain cases reported that there is a direct rela-tionship between excessive cigarette smoking and lungcancer, and very significantly.  Their medical opin-ions are supported by some clinical records, but 25other scientists say that the case against the cigaretteis not proven.  [All hired by the tobacco industry.]They state that the substantial majority of heavy smok-ers do not contract lung cancer.  They also tell methat these cancers have not been produced as yet inother species such as rats, rabbits, and guinea pigs.Now my editorial opinion is this:  A scientist may beunconvinced that the cigarette is guilty, but I am fullyconvinced that it is very far from innocent.  To saythat a majority of heavy smokers do not get lung can-cer leaves the vital question unanswered of whethera minority, a minority of excessive smokers, do get it.One cancer, in my opinion, one cancer victim is al-ways one too many.  Now merely as a reporter andcertainly not as a scientist, this is my conclusion.  Istill smoke about ten cigarettes a day, but the burdenof proof has shifted.  It is no longer up to the scien-tists to prove that cigarettes cause lung cancer, it isthe duty of all concerned to prove that they do not.Those are fairly strong words, despite the emphasized, buterroneous, qualification of only “excessive” smoking being risky.Winchell was for the most part alone in that there weren’t manypeople speaking out that vigorously at the time.  But his idea that theburden of proof was suddenly now on the shoulders of the industrywas not very accurate.  Indeed, to this day, the burden of proof inlegal terms remains on the plaintiffs, and the industry engages invigorous denial.   The industry’s position is that “the evidence link-ing smoking to cancer and heart disease is still inconclusive,” eventhough a 1962 document from R. J. Reynolds said: “Obviously theamount of evidence accumulating to indict cigarette smoke as a healthhazard is overwhelming.  The evidence challenging such an indict-243Richard Pollayment is scant.”They deny this with aggressive public relations.  The tacticswere described in a document that got entered into the Cippilonecase and which coincides with the archival work I did at the Univer-sity of Wisconsin in the Hill & Knowlton papers.  The strategy isdescribed as “creating doubt about the health charge without actu-ally denying it ... advocating the public’s right to smoke without ac-tually urging them to take up the practice.”  So they are walking afine line here.  Encouraging objective research is the only way toresolve the question of the health hazard.  The key word is “ques-tion.”  The notion here is that there’s a controversy.  They don’t haveto win a debate; they just have to keep the debate going.  The indus-try is following the same tactic now with respect to the effects ofadvertising as they did on the health front.By keeping a notion alive that there is a controversy and thatdoctors disagree, consumers are encouraged to go ahead and con-tinue to smoke.  Stories in all kinds of media seem to take cigarettesmoking off the hook.  Industry scoured the world for any kind ofsupportive evidence and then would give it wide circulation.  Theirtactic was gathering seeds of doubt from around the globe and repro-ducing and distributing them broadly.  Media, for reasons we’ve al-ready indicated, were more than cooperative in giving the tobaccoside of the story prominence.  Fingers of blame were pointed at otherpossible causes of cancer, such as pollution.  The judge who tried theCippilone case reviewed the documents, and his opinion was thatthis was a tobacco industry conspiracy, “vast in its scope, devious inits purpose, and devastating in its results ... a sophisticated conspiracyto confuse and mislead the public, displaying willful, wanton andcallous disregard for that public.”Filters Calm FearsThe more important event from the consumer’s point-of-view wasthe launch of new products.  In the face of this health scare and can-cer studies, the industry came forward with new filter products thatoffered peace of mind and seemed to be the latest advances of new244and approved technology.  One American brand was sold as “Justwhat the doctor ordered.”  The advice in the letter shown in the adwas not from a medical doctor, but the research director for theLiggett-Myers Tobacco Company.  They asserted in trial that this isnot a health claim, only an idiom in  popular language without anyhealth connotations.  Brands were launched that were virtuous justby their name, including Vantage, True, and Merit.  Once you couldbuy Life itself from the cigarette companies.  “The secret to life wasin the filter.”  All of these ads are trying to keep the health anxioussmoker from quitting.Another ad made reference to “no slits or holes.”  Now this isreferring to a technology that is now used in 40% of all Canadiancigarettes, where it used to be less than 1%.  The slits or holes arethere for an interesting purpose.  When you put this cigarette on themachines that are used by the FTC and government agencies to gen-erate the tar and nicotine data that’s required on the packaging, airenters and dilutes the smoke column and you get nice low tar andnicotine data.  That’s great for advertising purposes, labelling, andother packaging.  When a smoker picks the cigarette up, however,the smoker’s fingers obstruct the holes and the smoker gets high tarand nicotine.  There’s no dilution, so that’s wonderful for smokersatisfaction.  So the industry is playing both sides of the street; beat-ing the machine and getting good data for advertising purposes, andyet designing the product in a way that continues to provide high tarand nicotine delivery to the addicted smokers.  The tip ventilationcan be both visible and invisible.The most famous of the filter products was Kent.  “AmericanMedical Association tests prove the most effective filter is used byKent,” claimed the ad introducing the “micronite” filter.  Microniteis a trade name for a form of asbestos.  Unfortunately asbestos hascarcinogenic properties of its own and, in interaction with all of themany carcinogens and tobacco smoke, it’s very, very deadly.  It didn’tlast long because the product was reformulated.  The American Medi-cal Association objected vehemently to this ad and called it outra-geous exploitation, but that disdain appeared in an editorial in theJournal of the American Medical Association.  Who read that?245Richard PollayWhereas the advertising campaign was the largest product launch inthe history of North American commerce, seen in many magazinesand newspapers, and promoted with heavy television and radio adsas well.  The protest of the American Medical Association wasdrowned out and unheard.  Three apparently “new and improved”versions of  Kent over the next few years in reality delivered succes-sively more, not less, tar and nicotine.One cigarette ad provided data drawn from a Consumer Re-ports study.  This ad, in Figure 5 implies that the U.S. governmenthas endorsed Carlton, although in fact the U.S. government had noth-ing to do with it.  This is a very deceptive ad for other reasons aswell.  Carlton is a relatively good product in comparison terms, withrelatively low tar and nicotine yields.  These numbers of .01 milli-gram of tar and .02 milligrams are very reassuring.  If you go to thestore and buy Carlton, however, you find that you don’t get toCarltons in this box, but in a soft pack, as almost all of the productsold is in the soft pack.  “Well,” you might say, “what’s the differ-ence — one package versus another?”  It’s not the same product!  Atthe time this ad appeared, the product sold in the soft pack was deliv-ering 100 times as much tar and nicotine!  So again the trick here isthat you have one form of the product that’s great for advertisingpurposes, and another form that’s great for delivering nicotine tothose smokers who are addicted to nicotine.All of these advertising campaigns were very well funded.For L&M, no matter where you turned the dial you would find it.No matter what you read, there’s a long list of magazines they werebuying space in.  And this is just one brand.  Any night of the weekthey could be found on television, and in the early days of TV therewere only three channels.  In the 1960s many, many prime-time showsreaching many, many teens, as well as adults, were advertised bytobacco firms; 38 different brands, 73 different shows.  Lots of thesecreate what are called “roadblocks,” a media buying term that meansno matter which of the three channels you would turn to, you wouldencounter tobacco advertising.  They were buying so many ads thatthey even bought “Tombstone Territory.”  I don’t know why anyonein the tobacco industry had the gall to buy Tombstone Territory, but246FIGURE 5247Richard Pollaythey did. One of the studies that I’ve been involved in was an analysisof tobacco industry media buying patterns in the 1960s.  We hadaudience data on the television programmes they bought.  If youlook at the data carefully, you find that it’s not the adults that areapparently the target of the media buying, but the adolescents.  Allof the correlations show that the media buying patterns line up withaudience delivery of adolescents, not adults.  The average teenage inthose days would have seen sixty television spots a month.Advertising in those days, as you’ve seen, was fairly explicitin its health promises and its attempts to be health reassuring.  “Thecigarette that takes the fear out of smoking.”  But the trouble withthis kind of advertising is that it falls short for an important psycho-logical reason -- it keeps alive the health questions.  It’s like mysaying to you that I don’t beat my wife ... much ... anymore.  Themore I talk, the deeper a hole I dig.  The more I mention the issue,the more you think, “hmm, there’s an issue here.”  You know there’sa health problem.  If I say that my product is safe or safer than it usedto be, it raises all kinds of alarms.  So that won’t work, and the indus-try, internally, was quite aware that the cigarette advertising copywas making the problem worse.  The way to get around that was toshift to imagery.Imagery is very important.  In fact if you remember nothingelse about this presentation, it’s the power of the image.  Words haveto be cognitively processed.  If I tell you something, you have tothink about it or file it, and you do so in relationship to what youalready know.  In contrast, seeing is believing in the sense that it’spart of your experience.  You often don’t even register the thought.If I show you a picture of a wind surfer and you pass it on a billboardor when you’re flipping through magazines, that just becomes partof your experience of  an athletic person associated with variouscigarette brands.  If I put that in words by stating that “Surfers smoke”or “Smokers surf,”  you likely say “no way!”  But when it’s seen asan image, it just becomes part of your experience.  Technically speak-ing, we don’t counter-argue against images in the same way we doagainst verbal assertions.  So the advertising by use of associative248imagery is very potent.Targets & TacticsFigure 6 is a diagram which you should look at as if it was a con-tainer for water with a pipe coming in and a pipe going out.  It dia-grammatically indicates the size of the Canadian cigarette marketwith an inflow of starters every year at the rate of roughly one and ahalf percent compared to the size of the total, and an outflow of quit-ters at three and a half percent.  So the Canadian market is shrinkingat roughly two percent per year.  The majority of existing smokersare health-anxious, concerned smokers.  The industry describes theseeighty percent as “pre-quitters,” so the number one tactic of the in-dustry is to reassure these people lest they quit.  The second tactic isto gain starters, and we’ll see some documentary evidence on this.FIGURE 6 Cigarette Market Segment Sizes (Canada)Advertising Goal Priorities:1. Block Quitting2. Recruit Starters3. Capture Switchers“Ostriches” (10%)“Pre-Quitters” (80%)2. Starters (1.5%)3. Switchers (10%)1. Quitters (3.5%)249Richard PollayAlmost none of the activity is around switchers, although some ofthe pre-quitters will switch brands in a sequence of stages they gothrough on their approach to quitting.  It takes the average successfulquitter five attempts before they are successful.  So it’s a long anddifficult process even for those people who do manage to succeed.There’s another category the industry calls “ostriches.”  Os-triches are those people who know a little about the health questionto know they don’t want to know any more.  That’s kind of an unflat-tering portrayal, but the industry terminology is to call those peopleostriches.  There’s no advertising to them.  There’s no need to adver-tise to ostriches.  Almost all the advertising is to reassure pre-quit-ters and starters.Canadian documents indicate that the industry is dominatedby those companies most effectively meeting the needs of youngersmokers.  “Our efforts remain on these younger groups in spite ofany poor share performance that may develop among older smok-ers.”  That is, we’re going to make ads to turn on the kids even if itturns off the adults.  When we talk about starters, we’re talking aboutthe very young.  The modal ages for starting are twelve, thirteen andfourteen.  Almost all starting occurs among minors.  Dr. Kessler, theFood and Drug Administration Chief in the U.S., describes this as apediatric disease.  Almost all nicotine addiction is confirmed amongminors.  These are not consenting adults making informed decisions.This is an important point for legal purposes.  It’s adolescents beingseduced by the glamorous images of advertising.  The industry claimsthat they are not advertising to children, but here’s a contradiction tothat from an insider’s confession:Maybe they’ll get your little brother or sister.  Ormaybe they’ll get to the kid down the block.  But onething is perfectly clear to me, the tobacco companiesare after children.  Why?  Because tobacco compa-nies know that ninety percent of smokers start as chil-dren, before they know better.  Of course marketingto kids is unethical, so they just deny it.  I’m VictorCrawford.  I was a tobacco lobbyist for five years so250I know how tobacco companies work.  I lied.  And I’msorry.Very sorry.  He was a cancer victim, and he’s now deceased.This is another example of an equal opportunity tragedy.The industry claims that they don’t advertise to children, butthere’s certainly lots of advertising from history that indicates theydid.  Frank Gifford, Kathie Lee Gifford’s husband, still active insports as a commentator, was a star quarterback in both college andpro in the 1950s.  He endorsed Lucky Strikes, “the taste to start with,the taste to stay with.”  Here is what it sounded like on television:Hold on to your hat and come on with us for the mostfun we’ve ever had on wheels.  The Dune buggy.  Byus, I mean my wife Maxine, and me, Frank Gifford.Here on California’s giant dunes.  Watch our dust!Some fun!  I sure hope you get a chance to try it some-time.  Here’s something else you oughta try, and soon.Lucky Strike.  Why?  Because if you like taste in yourcigarette, you’ll get it with Luckies.  This is all thetaste a smoker could want.  It’s rich and smooth.  Thetaste of fine tobacco.  And let me tell you, once youstart getting that taste, you’ll want to keep getting it.And so come on, get that fine tobacco taste.  Get Lucky.The taste to start with, the taste to stay with.  GetLucky Strikes.In another TV spot, even the cartoon Flintstones were pressedinto service by the tobacco industry:They [the wives] sure work hard, don’t they Barney?Yeah, I hate to see them work so hard.  Yeah, me too.Let’s go around back where we can’t see them!  Gee,we oughta do something Fred!  Okay, how’s abouttaking a nap?  I gotta better idea!  Let’s take a Win-ston break!  That’s it!  Winston is the one filter ciga-251Richard Pollayrette that delivers flavour twenty times a pack.Winston’s got that filter blend.  Yeah Fred.  Filterblend makes the big taste difference and only Win-ston has it.  Up front where it counts.  Here, ahead ofthe pure white filter.  Winston packs rich tobacco spe-cially selected and specially processed for goodflavour in filter smoking.  Yeah Barney, Winston tastesgood like a cigarette should!  [Voice over:  TheFlintstones has been brought to you by Winston.America’s best selling, best tasting filter cigarette.Winston tastes good like a cigarette should.]The industry claims they’re doing a lot to discourage youthsmoking although there’s been some formal analysis of these cam-paigns that they engage in.   They are designed around faulty pre-mises that are known to be ineffective and they unfailingly commu-nicate a “forbidden fruit” message.  That is, they say that this is anadult habit and engaged in and enjoyed by adults so you shouldn’tdo it until you are an adult, and so on.  No mention is ever made ofthe health consequences of smoking.  So their pamphlets to “dis-courage adolescents” don’t seem to have much sophistication.Whatever they may be doing in that regard seems to pale incomparison to the stuff that goes on to promote the product.  Thecigarette logos appear in video games and on children’s toys.  OneR. J. Reynolds executive was quoted by a Winston model as saying,“I don’t smoke.  We reserve that right for the young, the poor, theblack and the stupid.”  God help you if you fall into more than one ofthose categories.  Or God help you if you’re all four.The court trial in Montreal raised the question of the extentto which cigarette ads are aimed at youth.  This wasn’t the only ques-tion of the trial but it was certainly one of the important ones, and italways is one of the politically important questions.  The most com-pelling evidence was the internal marketing documents, of which Ihad sixteen boxes to review in preparing a report for the court.  Theseinternal marketing documents show that the industry, despite theirclaims to the contrary, reassure current smokers and make their prod-252uct attractive to the young and to non-smokers.  They also recognizethat advertising is critical for maintaining the size of the market be-cause it serves to reinforce the social acceptability of smoking byidentifying with glamour, affluence, youthfulness and vitality.  Infact, there was a cover sheet to every marketing document from Im-perial Tobacco that outlined a statement of policy. It communicatedthat reinforcing the social acceptability of smoking was to be a domi-nant characteristic of the promotion for any and all brands.Imperial Tobacco and R. J. Reynolds-Macdonald releasedinternal documents showing that in Canada the cigarette industryhad an interest in adolescent psyche rivalling that of Freud.  Elabo-rate psychological tests were used.  There were also hidden cameraand two-way mirror investigations of adolescents.  The behaviour ofeleven, twelve and thirteen year-olds was discussed in corporate docu-ments, and the targeting of fifteen year-old non-smokers.  The re-search indicated that starters believed they will not become addictedand that adolescents are notoriously naive.  Once addiction does takeplace, it becomes necessary for the smoker to have a wide range ofrationalizations.  One of the roles of advertising is to feed those ra-tionalizations.  Starters thought they could quit easily but they be-come slaves to their cigarettes.  Internal Canadian corporate docu-ments talk about the “slaves to their cigarettes” that the companyenjoys once the teenagers become addicted.  And they become ad-dicted in high school.  The majority of high school smokers have hada quit attempt before they get out of high school.How do you appeal to adolescents?  You might think thatyou do it with the kind of advertising campaign illustrated in Figure7, and indeed this was tried.  R. J. Reynolds offered Tempo in a testmarket in Toronto, but the test failed.  They bought the right media,they bought billboards and store locations near the video arcades,record stores, and movie theatres in downtown locations — they gotthe audience they wanted; they wanted the young people going tomovies and so on.  But the audience reaction wasn’t what they wanted.The audience reaction to this was, “well it looks like they’re target-ing young people.  I’m not interested.  I don’t want a bubble gumproduct.”  The average teenager wants a symbol of adulthood.  The253Richard Pollayaverage teenager doesn’t want a bubble gum cigarette, they want areal cigarette.  So this product failed and there was a two-hundred-page document to describe it in quite painful detail.To appeal to adolescents, you show lots of pictures of healthwhere people are alive and enjoying social support and engaged inactivities that youth aspire to.  Players was very successful and, in-deed, dominates the Canadian market.  Imperial Tobacco holds abouta two-thirds market share of the entire Canadian market largelythrough the success of Players, which captures a very big share ofstarters.  They left Export A in the dust when it stuck to a blue collar“truck driver” image.The facts of the matter are that most smoking is social class-related.  Only fourteen percent of college graduates will be smokers.Thirty percent of high school graduates and seventy percent of drop-outs will be smokers.  Smoking is very much related to educationallevel and economic prospects.  So there is a blue collar aspect toFIGURE 7254smoking, but it doesn’t work to show it because what’s importantabout cigarette advertising is not that it faithfully mirrors reality, butthat it shows what people aspire to.  You want to show social behav-iour, social class and social acceptance that people aspire to.The most important aspiration of adolescents is the need tobe independent, to have autonomy and to be self-reliant.  So the cam-paigns most  successful at capturing adolescents show independenceand self-reliance, in addition to what they show about healthfulnessin a pure and pristine environment, or with sports equipment.  Theyalso show someone who is always alone and shows the self confi-dence to be alone.Figure 8 shows an ad which was found to be problematicwhen it ran.  These ads are carefully researched even while they arein deployment.  They found out that some people when they saw thisad thought: “How heavy is windsurfing equipment?  Heavy ... out ofbreath ... lungs ... lung cancer.”  A thought process was triggered thatled some viewers to be reminded of  the lung consequences.  Thatwon’t do, as you don’t want a cigarette ad that encourages people tothink. So you have to revise the ad campaign, and Figure 9 is thenature of the revision.  The important point here is that you’re usingas much of a picture of health as you can get away with.  You wantpeople to take it in, but you don’t want it to be incredible in the sensethat it precipitates thought.  You want an image that does not triggercognition.  So that’s the nature of the Players campaign, these won-derfully pure and pristine environments. People relaxing after comple-tion of climbing a mountain or, in this case, racing.When I think about the sponsors for racing in addition toeverything else, it shows a person becoming a hero precisely be-cause of the risks they’ve taken.  So implicitly, it’s role modelling:“Go ahead, take that risk.  You may get to be a hero too!”  The crowdis very much minimized and pushed to the background, so again theimage is of a person who is independent and self-reliant.  It’s verymuch at the cornerstone psychologically of this kind of campaign.The same can be said for the Marlboro Man.  The Marlboro Man isthe mythic epitome of independence.  And if you think about theMarlboro campaigns you’ve been seeing for thirty years, there are255Richard Pollayno bullies, no foreman, and not even a sheriff in Marlboro country.There’s no authority to be reckoned with whatsoever.  That’s verycrucial to the whole campaign.  It’s just the individual in a self-reli-ant way.The modern contender to the Marlboro man is the infamouscartoon Joe Camel who is doing very well with his somewhat morestreet hip attitudes and character.  I have a limerick here about this. The cowboy was king in his day.With studs and with kids he did play.No authorities triedto lock him insideor to stop him from having his way.But one of his foes reached new lowsand made up a Camel to pose,in cartoons where the scenesare the envy of teens,who whisper and gawk at his nose.Now this Camel never says anything, but I asked in a lectureat Penn State a rhetorical question, “what’s this campaign all about?”And a ten-year-old girl in the front row said “I know, I know.”  So Ihad to acknowledge her, and she said, “It’s boys’ private parts!”  Andindeed as this limerick goes on to say:In touching the dreams of the young,this Camel does not use his tongue.This face we all knowit’s “Genital Joe.”It’s mute, but at least it’s well-hung.Not only well-hung, but surprisingly ill-shaven consideringthe tuxedo and, of course, accompanied by a bimbo.  And what doesthe submarine have to do with this ad anyway?  To suggest that it’snot intended to have any sexual symbolism is rather incredible.  It256FIGURE 8257Richard PollayFIGURE 9258certainly did get the “nudge, nudge, wink, wink” response of rumoursamong adolescents, whether intended to or not.Figure 10 is a satire produced locally by the Adbusters maga-zine, the Media Foundation that ran this in their magazine.  They aretrying to raise money to get Harper’s magazine to run this ad.Harper’s is a bit reluctant because they take tobacco money for con-ventional forms of advertising.  But Adbusters is successful at sell-ing this elsewhere.  They just received an order for ten thousandposters from the Washington State Department of Public Health.  SoI think this is going to take off.Cigarette advertising gets lots of financial support because itworks.  I haven’t mentioned it yet, but how much financial support?A million dollars an hour roughly.  Over six billion dollars a year incigarette advertising and promotion.  Promotions would include themoney paid to the retailer to have the signs and displays up in theretail store.  And it works at lots of levels.  It not only works tocensor the content of media, it works to bias people’s judgementsabout how many people smoke, how healthy smokers are, and so on.FIGURE 10259Richard PollayWithout advertising, that terrible thing happens ... nothing.  Someresearch I did with a colleague, Sid Siddarth, found teens to be muchmore sensitive to cigarette advertising than adults.  We looked verycarefully at where the action was.  If you look at all the money that’sbeing spent on advertising, and you look at who is reacting, you findthat you have three times the magnitude of reactions among teenag-ers as you do among adults.The effort to control cigarette advertising in Canada didn’tget very far.  The Tobacco Products Control Act in the late eightieshad major loopholes so Imperial and others exploited the gaps in thead ban, sponsoring events like Players race teams that got them ontomagazine covers and television.  At tennis tournaments, for example,there are posters outside, and they get picked up by television andvarious media.  There’s a lot of leverage from this kind of spending;you get into other media that you don’t have to pay for.  This hasbecome a very popular form of promotion.  Canadian examples in-clude various sports, and of course family events like Benson &Hedges’ “Symphony of Fire.”  Craven A sponsors country music, soit gets on radio.  Concerts and sponsorship of arts and jazz are verynoticeable here locally.The ad ban was found unconstitutional for a number of rea-sons.  You might think that the failure of that law was because theevidence didn’t substantiate the kind of claims that I’ve been mak-ing.  But as I’ve quoted to you earlier, the internal documents werepoint blank in saying that advertising was very important.  The rea-son the law failed the constitutionality test was the courts were notconvinced that some lesser remedy might not also work.  They wantedto leave open the opportunity for something like black and whiteads, or ads in exclusively adult media.  That is, they could see thejustification for protecting children, but they thought that law wastoo comprehensive and they essentially threw it back to Parliamentto come up with another law, which is Bill C-71, now sitting in thehands of the Senate.Since the ad ban we now have a proliferation of cigaretteadvertising, particularly at retail stores.  The important thing aboutthe retail environment is to create what the industry calls “friendly260familiarity.”  You want cigarettes to become and be seen as com-monplace.  You want kids to grow up encountering cigarette adver-tising and cigarettes frequently, so they take it for granted and don’tthink twice about it.  We’re all aware if we encounter somethingwe’ve never seen before, that we react a bit to the strangeness.  We’rea bit suspicious of something we’re unfamiliar with.  But the reverseis also true, what’s called the “familiarity effect.”  The more fre-quently we encounter something, the more we come to trust that it’sbenign.If the ad ban does come into place, we’re likely to see a dif-ferent kind of advertising.  The following script is from what the R.J. Reynolds people claim is not a cigarette ad, despite the promi-nence of the Camel package and the hero’s conspicuous smoking,but only an ad for a movie.It started with a shock.  Of a brother he never knew.And turned into a journey.  To a place he’d neverforget.  He would stop at nothing to find the truth.And nothing could stop the truth from finding him.From the Director of “Phantoms of the Sun” comesthe incredible story of one man’s journey.  To no-man’s-land.  The search for the Golden Warrior.  ACamel Adventure.That’s the kind of advertising we can expect to see if an adban comes into place because the industry has, wherever it’s facedregulation, exploited whatever loopholes may exist, and worked vig-orously around them.  They certainly don’t stop their advertising.At the end of everything, there’s a very simple test you canapply to cigarette advertising.  You don’t have to do all the sophisti-cated research and perusal of documents that I’ve had to do.  All youhave to do is ask, “how does what you see compare with what youget?”  What you see is pictures of independence of a heroic nature,and what you get is addiction.  What you see is pictures of healthwhere people are alive with pleasure, but in reality they are going toneed a physician.  You see images of style and glamour when in fact261Richard Pollaythe reality is death.The tobacco industry is all too interested in corralling theyoung, and everywhere that’s the case. (Figure 11)  And that’s al-most unavoidable.  One key reason for that is the phenomenal brandloyalty in this product category.  There is very little brand switching.Brand patterns get established among the young and, once you’vegot a customer as a youth, you tend to hold onto the customer.  Ofthirty-eight products studied by the J. Walter Thompson ad agency,cigarettes have the highest brand loyalty.  Less than ten percent ofsmokers will switch in any given year.  And even those people whodo switch are not only few in number, but they are fickle in characterand frail.  They are not a very attractive market segment.  They arenowhere near as attractive as the adolescent who will continue tosmoke for years.  Unfortunately the consequences are going toMarlboro Cemetery.  (Figure 12)The cigarette companies don’t seem to care about this; theonly thing they care about keeping healthy is their own balance sheet.FIGURE 11262The corporate CEOs, all dressed up and testifying before Congress,swore that as far as they were concerned, the product was not addic-tive despite all of the corporate documents.  I want to give the lastword here to Dr. Everett Koop, who will tell you his reaction to thisindustry.[Smoking is] the greatest producer of prematuredeaths in our country,  so I took it on as my job — andI was a physician who knew that smoking was dan-gerous to one’s health.  But when I got into it, I thinkthe thing that impelled me to have what you call apassion about it, was when I saw the sleaze with whichthe tobacco industry foisted these products upon un-suspecting people by unfair advertising, by not stick-ing to their own ethical codes, by marketing a drugthat is more addictive than anything else we have inour society to unsuspecting kids.  I think that my zealwas probably prompted by the opposition.If you thought the cigarette firms are law-abiding, benevo-lent citizens because of their innocence by association and all theirsponsorship of things like the Benson & Hedges “Symphony of Fire,”I think you should think again.  Quoting Koop again:  “Fourteenyears ago I called them the most heavy-handed, obtuse, impolitic,and untruthful group of corporations anywhere in the panoply ofAmerican private enterprise.  I was too easy on them.”  Indeed, whenyou strip it all away, the advertising of cigarettes is the promotion orpushing of drugs of a deadly and addictive nature.  The fact that it’snot done by people in street corners who look like hoods shouldn’tblind us to that fact.  It may be done by corporate types who are alldressed up in suits and lies, but it’s still drug pushing.   I think thesimple message is that we should never, never, never hurt children.(Figures 11 and 13).  That should be the basic message you takeaway from this presentation and a governing value that drive publicpolicy.  We should all be involved in drug abuse resistance educa-tion, and recognize that nicotine and tobacco is one of those.  I’ve263Richard Pollaycertainly done that and I’ve quit apologizing for the industry and itsnefarious marketing practices.CODA:The above was based on a presentation to the Vancouver Institute inMarch 1997, edited for grammar and to remove ambiguities arisingfrom the absence of the many audiovisual aids used then.  Since thatdate, there has been a rapidly unfolding drama of litigation and leg-islation.In the U.S., juries have begun to find against the industry,and many new suits have been filed.  These involve seeking com-pensation for individual health victims, class actions, unions, asbes-tos firms, and most significantly some 41 states, often joined by theirmedical insurers.  Three of these state actions have been settled outof court by Mississippi, Florida and Texas, and Minnesota settledafter a lengthy trial getting incriminating documents into the publicdomain.  A coalition of Attorney-Generals reached an accord withFIGURE 12264FIGURE 13265Richard Pollaythe industry and jointly proposed a “global settlement” now await-ing Congressional review and enactment.  Among other features itwould grant immunity to the firms in exchange for substantial pay-ments to states with commissions going to its legal representatives,causing some to see this as a purchased legislative “bailout” of theindustry.  Documents displaying R. J. Reynolds targeting of youthwere recently released by a Congressman and Congressional hear-ings featuring corporate CEOs are scheduled.In Canada, Bill C-71 was passed by Senate and enacted onpaper, but is not being enforced and its constitutionality is being chal-lenged by the industry, with proceeding scheduled for 1998.  Whilethe Federal government has not acted on other matters, like plainpackaging, provinces have become more pro-active, particularly B.C.Parallelling the 41 U.S. states, it has sued the industry for medicalexpenses and just recently announced a requirement for packagingdisclosure of additives and ingredients.The resolution of this flurry of activity remains to be seen,but the industry has an impressive litigation track record and awe-some political success at lobbying and participating in the framingof legislation to make the best of seemingly dire situations.  Thus Iam certain that the persistent problem of the professional corporatepushing of this deadly and addictive drug will not be resolved easilyor soon.Selected Publications:“Hacks, Flacks and Counter-Attacks: Cigarette Advertising, Spon-sored Research and Controversies,” Journal of Social Issues,Vol. 53 #1 (March 1997), 53-74.“The Last Straw?  Cigarette Advertising and Realized Market Sharesamong Youths and Adults, 1979-1993,” Journal of Market-ing, Vol. 60 #2 (April 1996), 1-16.“Deadly Targeting of Women in Promoting Cigarettes,” Journal ofthe American Medical Women Association, Vol. 51 #1/2 (Jan/Apr 1996), 67-69.“Targeting Tactics in Selling Smoke: Youthful Aspects of 20th Cen-266tury Cigarette Advertising,” Journal of Marketing Theory andPractice, Vol. 3 #1 (Winter 1995), 1-22.“`Below the Belt’ Cigarette Advertising,” Tobacco Control, Vol. 4#2 (Summer), 188-191.“Promises, Promises: Self-Regulation of US Cigarette BroadcastAdvertising in the 1960s,” Tobacco Control, Vol. 3 #2 (Sum-mer 1994), 134-144.“The Targeting of Youth by Cigarette Marketers: Archival Evidenceon Trial,” in Advances in Consumer Research, Vol. 20 (1993),Association for Consumer Research, 266-271.“Separate, But Not Equal: Racial Segmentation in Cigarette Adver-tising,” Journal of Advertising, 16 #1 (March 1992), 45-57.“Information and Imagery in Contemporary Canadian Cigarette Ads,”Proceedings of American Academy of Advertising (1990), 74-79.“Propaganda, Puffing and the Public Interest: The Scientific SmokeScreen for Cigarettes,” Public Relations Review, Vol. 16 #3(1990), 27-42.“Filter, Flavor ... Flim-Flam, Too!: Cigarette Advertising Contentand Its Regulation,” Journal of Public Policy and Market-ing, Vol. 8 (1989), 30-39.Video (1992), Pack of Lies.  Northhampton, MA: Foundation forMedia Education, 35 min.267INSTITUTE MEMORABILIA


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