How the admen hooked a new generation of smokers

SMOKERS ARE "stupid", "irrational" and "illogical" according to the advertising firm that helped hook an entire generation of smokers.

Leaked documents, kept secret for nearly 25 years by British American Tobacco, reveal the "contempt'' felt by the advertising moguls for the teenagers they were trying to persuade to smoke.

The documents, dating back to 1975, recommend that cigarettes be linked with adult initiation rites such as "shaving" and "wearing a bra". And they suggest that smoking be linked to taking illegal drugs, having sex and drinking beer.

They show that Ted Bates and Co, the firm that framed ads for brands such as Lucky Strike, wanted to get teenagers to smoke by creating "a situation based on the day-to-day life of young smokers".

The strategy, based on a series of focus groups with young people carried out by a market research company, concluded that smokers "have to face the fact that they are illogical, irrational and stupid".

BAT, the second largest tobacco multinational in the world, will face stiff questioning about the leaked documents when it holds its AGM this week.

Anti-smoking campaigners say the papers show that cigarette advertising is based on utter contempt for customers.

"This document gives a rare peep into what's really going on in the minds of people pushing tobacco to young people," said Clive Bates, director of Action on Smoking and Health. "This shows that all they really care about is making money."

The comments have also been condemned by the De-partment of Health which last year launched a pounds 110m anti-smoking campaign. It says the documents prove their view that much of tobacco advertising has been aimed at children.

"We have consistently said that the tobacco industry targets children in advertising. Cigarette manufacturers have consistently denied it," said a Department of Health source. "Anyone who thinks it's clever to take up smoking will be interested to know that the industry thinks they are a mug."

The report, "What Have We Learned From People", was conducted for Ted Bates and Co from a market research firm and presented to Brown & Williamson, a subsidiary of BAT, as a way of promoting Viceroy cigarettes for non- smokers and people who used competing brands.

The advertising document offers advice on how to make cigarettes appeal to young people. It says: "In the young smokers' mind, a cigarette falls into the same category with wine, beer, shaving, wearing a bra (or purposely not wearing one), declaration of independence and striving for self-identity ... Thus, an attempt to reach young smokers should be based on the following major parameters:

"Present the cigarette as one of the few initiations into the adult world. Present the cigarette as part of the illicit pleasure category of products and activities.

"In your ads create a situation taken from the day-to-day life of the young smoker but in an elegant manner have this situation touch on the basic symbols of the growing-up, maturity process. To the best of your ability (considering some legal constraints), relate the cigarette to pot, wine, beer, sex, etc."

Brown & Williamson said that it never implemented the company's recommendations and did not agree with its views.

"We didn't request any advertisement based on this strategy. No advertisements were ever published. It has nothing to do with our views," said Brendan Brady, a spokesman for Brown & Williamson. "It was an outside agency. We eventually fired Ted Bates and Co".

A new law banning tobacco advertising in Britain is expected to be published next month.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
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

Austen Lloyd: Private Client Solicitor - Oxford

Excellent Salary : Austen Lloyd: OXFORD - REGIONAL FIRM - An excellent opportu...

Austen Lloyd: Clinical Negligence Associate / Partner - Bristol

Super Package: Austen Lloyd: BRISTOL - SENIOR CLINICAL NEGLIGENCE - An outstan...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Consultant - Solar Energy - OTE £50,000

£15000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Fantastic opportunities are ava...

Recruitment Genius: Compute Engineer

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Compute Engineer is required to join a globa...

Day In a Page

Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

Growing mussels

Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project
Diana Krall: The jazz singer on being friends with Elton John, outer space and skiing in Dubai

Diana Krall interview

The jazz singer on being friends with Elton John, outer space and skiing in Dubai
Pinstriped for action: A glimpse of what the very rich man will be wearing this winter

Pinstriped for action

A glimpse of what the very rich man will be wearing this winter
Russell T Davies & Ben Cook: 'Our friendship flourished online. You can share some very revelatory moments at four in the morning…'

Russell T Davies & Ben Cook: How we met

'Our friendship flourished online. You can share some very revelatory moments at four in the morning…'
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef serves up his favourite Japanese dishes

Bill Granger's Japanese recipes

Stock up on mirin, soy and miso and you have the makings of everyday Japanese cuisine
Michael Calvin: How we need more Eric Cantonas to knock some sense into us

Michael Calvin's Last Word

How we need more Eric Cantonas to knock some sense into us