Anti Tobacco products
If you've watched television over the last few years, you've probably seen one or two of the more controversial anti-smoking ads that run during prime viewing hours. In one commercial, the camera zooms in on fatty deposits squeezed from the aorta of a 32-year old smoker. Another commercial features cowboys and models, traditional tobacco icons, cuddling up to body bags. So why aren't the tobacco companies outraged by these advertisements?
It all started back in 1998. As part of a $206 billion dollar settlement, major tobacco companies like Philip Morris agreed to pay for advertising campaigns to educate consumers about the dangers of tobacco. Not only were they barred from advertising their own products or sponsoring events geared towards teenagers, they also had to contribute millions annually to support these anti-smoking ads in every state
But, there is a catch. And it's a big one.
The settlement mandates that these anti-smoking ads cannot personally vilify or attack the tobacco companies. Under the terms of the settlement, violating the clause can pose big problems for any anti-tobacco group. Just ask the American Legacy Foundation.
With a total endowment of $1.45 billion, the American Legacy Foundation is by far the largest anti-tobacco advertiser in the country. They are brains behind the TRUTH campaign, whose controversial ads have been banned on major networks.
In one TRUTH ad, a young woman enters Philip Morris corporate headquarters with a large suitcase labeled "LIE DETECTOR" and demands to speak with Philip Morris marketers. Security guards escort her to the door. Another commercial, also shot in front of Philip Morris headquarters, shows teenagers unloading body bags by the hundreds, yelling, "Do you know how many people tobacco kills every day?"