ADWEEK columnist Barbara Lippert reviews Philip Morris' new
antismoking advertising campaign, and expresses skepticism about
the campaign's effectiveness and PM's motives.
She points out
the contradiction in the company's simultaneous advertising to
promote its products and to discourage teens from using its
products. Lippert writes: "[T]hese ads are too tepid and
generic -- they could sell anything from orange juice to
PM has chosen to create a mellow, sensitive,
"rely on your good sense, son" picture.
Are they serious? This is advertising covering a life-and-death issue! So where
is the big stick? The scare tactics? The hit 'em over your
head with destroying your life stuff?"
Lippert points out that other counter-ad campaigns, such as one featuring Pam Laffin
aired by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, seem to
be more effective by showing graphic images of smoking's toll.
She concludes, "Perhaps it's impossible for any nonsmoking
message to come from Philip Morris, anyway.
Like many other portions of this gazillion-dollar tobacco deal, it benefits
lawyers -- and not many others. But certainly in future work,
trying to get past the surface, to get deeper into the ritual,
deeper into the dynamics of why kids smoke and get underneath
what they claim might be a good start for any serious
To begin with, PM might consider digging
until it comes up with a powerful American anti-smoking
signifier that could be immediately read around the world. "Did
someone say coughing cowboy?"
Source: ADWEEK, (12/14/98) "Smoke And Mirrors", Barbara Lippert, p. 34