Proof at last: tobacco admen think smokers are 'stupid'
Sunday 25 April 1999
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, starters, should be based among others, 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 rejected this illicit pleasure strategy. 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 spokes-man 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.
Culinary experts in The Netherlands thought it was 'fresh' and 'tasty'
Of all the computers Apple has ever made there’s only one that Steve Jobs had to sell his car to finance
Actress sees off speculation about her face in an amazing way
Marvel has released first teaser trailer week early after it leaked online
The sound of Goodfellas mafioso Frankie Carbone demanding $250m in “damages” would be chilling enough on film, let alone in real life.
- 1 Nokia no more: Microsoft drops once-ubiquitous mobile name – in favour of its Lumia brand
- 2 Renee Zellweger on plastic surgery: 'I'm living a fulfilling life and I'm thrilled that perhaps it shows'
- 3 Banksy not arrested: Internet duped by fake report claiming artist's identity revealed
- 4 Australian café owner sparks debate after saying 'No' to having unruly children on premises
- 5 Paralysed man Darek Fidyka walks again after treatment by British doctors on brink of 'cure' for paralysis
Ottawa shooting: Canadian soldier dies after being shot at National War Memorial – with one gunman killed inside parliament
Renee Zellweger on plastic surgery: 'I'm living a fulfilling life and I'm thrilled that perhaps it shows'
Isis releases first video showing the stoning of woman accused of committing adultery as her father shouts 'don't call me Dad'
Banksy not arrested: Internet duped by fake report claiming artist's identity revealed
Diwali: What is the festival of lights and how is it celebrated around the world?
Cameron is warned 'no possibility' of UK reducing immigration and that bid to bring in quota on migrant workers would be illegal
Of course, teenage girls need role models – but not like beauty vlogger Zoella
Support for EU membership 'at highest level since 1991' with most Brits wanting to stay 'in'
Residents should throw a street party and mix with immigrant neighbours, councils told
Russell Brand threatened with arrest after filming outside Fox News headquarters
London bus driver 'kicks gay couple off for kissing'
£250 - £300 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: **URGENT CONTRACT** Our...
£21000 - £31000 per annum: Randstad Education Chelmsford: KS2 Teachers - Chelm...
£32000 - £38000 per annum: Ampersand Consulting LLP: SAP ABAP Developer - Rugb...
£80000 - £90000 per annum: Sauce Recruitment: Working for an International Mul...