Cigarette firms find ingenious ways round advertising ban

BRITISH TOBACCO companies are planning to sell pensions, credit cards and alcoholic drinks carrying well-known cigarette brand names.

Trademarks for hundreds of products and services have been registered in anticipation of the Government's ban on tobacco advertising, expected to be introduced next year.

Anti-smoking campaigners are concerned that the new legislation will leave a loophole allowing manufacturers to continue to promote their brands by selling non-related products carrying the same names.

British American Tobacco (BAT) has registered a credit card, beer and whisky under the "Lucky Strike" brand, and Roth-mans has declared its intention to market financial services using its name and logo. Imperial and Gallagher are also registering non-tobacco goods, having faced similar advertising bans in other countries.

Over the past year the companies have registered clothing, electrical goods, alcoholic and soft drinks, footwear, luggage, stationery, model cars and even internet-based travel and restaurant information services.

But one application by BAT, to register the cigarette brand 555 for perfumes, cosmetics and toiletries, is being challenged by Chanel, which fears it will become confused with its Chanel No5 label.

The companies say regist-ering brand names for non-tobacco products will protect them from being used by others, an explanation dismissed by the anti-smoking lobby.

Amanda Sandford, of the campaign group Action on Smoking and Health (ASH), said: "They won't want to throw 70 years of brand promotion away just like that.

"They will try to use the brand name, but in a way that's almost subliminal, with things like T-shirts with logos on them, or different products with the same name."

The "brand-stretching" was pioneered by Marlboro with its clothing range. The company sells clothes that maintain its rugged Marlboro Man cowboy image through a chain of clothing stores worldwide.

British companies are now trying to emulate the American giant. BAT is promoting a mail-order catalogue, the "Lucky Strike Originals Collection".

Whether this move by the tobacco companies will be enough to get around the ban is unclear; the Government has said it is committed to tackling smoking as a public health issue. But when the ban becomes law there appears to be a grey area the tobacco companies will try to exploit.

When goods which are non-tobacco products trade under a tobacco brand name, the Government is likely to require companies to make sure that the name is used in a sufficiently distinct manner from the tobacco product, so an advertisement for a non-tobacco product does not promote tobacco at the same time.

If these products have been produced before the ban is enacted they will be allowed to remain - so long as they are sufficiently distinct.

A Department of Health spokeswoman said that the Government would be examining the companies' activities closely.

peopleFrankie Boyle responds to referendum result in characteristically offensive style
Arts and Entertainment
Highs and lows of the cast's careers since 2004
New Articles
i100... with this review
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Cover Supervisor

£75 - £90 per day + negotiable: Randstad Education Group: Are you a cover supe...

Marketing Manager - Leicestershire - £35,000

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager (CIM, B2B, MS Offi...

Marketing Executive (B2B and B2C) - Rugby, Warwickshire

£22000 - £25000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A highly successful organisation wit...

SEN Coordinator + Teacher (SENCO)

£1 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Job Purpose To work closely with the he...

Day In a Page

Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam