"Edelman PR Worldwide, which represents the National Dialogue on Cancer, has dropped British American Tobacco as a client in Malaysia, according to The Cancer Letter of July 25," O'Dwyer's PR reports. "Richard and Daniel Edelman had signed a pledge that the firm would not work for tobacco companies when it won the non-profit group's account last October. Edelman's Kuala Lumpur office, however, helped BAT promote 'social reporting,' issuing press releases about scholarships for children of tobacco farmers.
Our First Quarter 2003 issue of PR Watch detailed the British American Tobacco company's effort to reposition itself as "socially responsible." Now the Center for Public Integrity has produced a detailed report, citing internal industry documents, showing how the tobacco industry is using "social responsibility" to "prevent the enactment of a tough worldwide treaty" regulating tobacco marketing.
"Two of the nation's largest cigarette manufacturers have sued the state of California to stop state-sponsored ads that exceed the authority granted to the state by voters and are intended to vilify the tobacco industry. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company and Lorillard Tobacco Company filed the suit in U.S. District Court in Sacramento, seeking an injunction halting some of California's Prop 99 advertising. ... As noted in the proposition itself, Prop 99 tax proceeds are to be used primarily for tobacco-related health education programs and medical care for indigent citizens.
The movie musical "Chicago" may be in line for the Best Picture award at this year's Oscars, but it gets a "Thumbs Down" Hackademy Award from the American Lung Association (ALA) for its numerous scenes involving cigarette or cigar smoking. Two of the main stars of the movie smoke regularly throughout the film. Catherine Zeta-Jones smokes even while dancing, even though very few women actually smoked during the period when the movie was set.
"The Justice Department is demanding
that the nation's biggest cigarette makers be ordered to
forfeit $289 billion in profits derived from a half-century
of fraudulent and dangerous marketing practices. Citing new evidence, the Justice Department asserts ... the major
cigarette companies are running what amounts to a criminal
enterprise by manipulating nicotine levels, lying to their
customers about the dangers of tobacco and directing their
As in the United States, the tobacco industry has been using hotels and restaurants to front for its interests in Canada. "One of the key tools cigarette manufacturers used in this effort was the Courtesy of Choice campaign, a worldwide public-relations effort that grew out of a partnership between Philip Morris's Accommodation Program and the International Hotel Association," writes David Rodenhiser. "Courtesy of Choice aimed to head off government legislation by championing non-smoking sections and ventilation systems as a better solution.
Not everyone enjoyed "British-American Tobacco's Socially Responsible Smoke Screen," our article from the last issue of PR Watch that examined BAT's social reporting process. Eugenio Rengifo, a baritone with a Chilean band, emailed us a stinging letter, calling the article a "joke. Do you really believe in what you wrote about this?" But Eugenio the baritone didn't bother to inform us that he was also a PR executive with BAT's Chilean subsidiary.
Bob Burton and Andy Rowell deconstruct the "social responsibility report" of British American Tobacco, the world's second largest tobacco company, in the latest PR Watch. Among their findings, "BAT's social report disclosed that three of its employees had been killed and 37 involved in serious accidents during 2001, but omitted any estimate of the number of people who had been killed or seriously affected by consuming its products. ...
In each war and military action since losing in Vietnam, the US military has exerted increased control and censorship over battlefield reporting. Now the Pentagon claims to be changing its ways, in part to gain a propaganda advantage. According to the New York Times, "military officials said in interviews
that limits on access to frontline units ... would be loosened if President Bush ordered
military action. The Pentagon has made similar pledges of greater access
before without making good on the promise. Even now, as the
Following the publication of an influential 1981 Japanese study linking secondhand cigarette smoke to lung cancer, the tobacco industry went on the attack, funding its own study to counter the Hirayama study. "The goal of the study was to produce a credible, peer reviewed article that could be used as a public relations tool," report Mi-Kyung Hong and Lisa A. Bero.