Cigarette firms plot 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 increasingly 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 Rothmans has declared its intention to market financial services using its familiar name and logo.

Imperial and Gallagher are also registering non-tobacco goods, having faced similar advertising bans in other countries, including Norway and Malaysia.

Over the past year the companies have registered clothing, electrical goods, alcoholic and mineral drinks, footwear, flags, 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 catalogue shopping service, 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.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Senior Digital Marketing Consultant

£28000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Senior Digital Marketing Cons...

Recruitment Genius: Assistant Stores Keeper

£16640 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An Assistant Stores Keeper is r...

Recruitment Genius: Claims Administrator

£16000 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an excellent opportunit...

Recruitment Genius: Software Developer - C# / ASP.NET / SQL

£17000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Developer required to join a bu...

Day In a Page

'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

Everyone is talking about The Trews

Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before
'Queer saint' Peter Watson left his mark on British culture by bankrolling artworld giants

'Queer saint' who bankrolled artworld giants

British culture owes a huge debt to Peter Watson, says Michael Prodger
Pushkin Prizes: Unusual exchange programme aims to bring countries together through culture

Pushkin Prizes brings countries together

Ten Scottish schoolchildren and their Russian peers attended a creative writing workshop in the Highlands this week
14 best kids' hoodies

14 best kids' hoodies

Don't get caught out by that wind on the beach. Zip them up in a lightweight top to see them through summer to autumn
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The acceptable face of the Emirates

The acceptable face of the Emirates

Has Abu Dhabi found a way to blend petrodollars with principles, asks Robert Fisk