Thursday, August 21, 2008

5845: Newport’s Pleasurable Rebuttal.

From The Chicago Tribune…

Defending the marketing of menthol cigarettes

Your story “Blacks seen as targets of menthol; Exemption for additive troubles many critics” [See here.] mischaracterizes the facts regarding the marketing of menthol cigarettes. It is but one more example of a coordinated effort by paternalistic moralists through the media who neither know the facts or the science about menthol in cigarettes nor care to learn them.

This campaign is seeking to take away a smoker’s choice to smoke menthol cigarettes, or to smoke at all. It is a blatant effort to impose a politically correct agenda on the American public with the unfortunate assistance of the media.

The Chicago Tribune article leads the public to believe that tobacco industry marketing practices target African-Americans differently from the targeting by other consumer product manufacturers. The article uses race as the emotional lure to turn the public against those companies that have the audacity to market their products to those who want to use them.

We know that the marketing of cigarettes at all is an anathema to those who want to end smoking, but to characterize the marketing methods of our company as “designed specifically to lure young blacks into a lifetime of tobacco use” is slanderous. Moreover, it is particularly offensive since the reporter never contacted us in an effort to understand our marketing practices.

The truth is that Lorillard markets its Newport brand cigarettes to adult smokers of all ethnicities. The truth is that our marketing is not disproportionately directed to African-Americans. The truth is that we do not target underage smokers. The truth is that there are twice as many Caucasian menthol cigarette smokers as there are African-American menthol cigarette smokers. I challenge those who want to prove otherwise to come forward with evidence to support their charges.

Our consumers have the right and ability to choose to smoke and to select their brand of preference. Suggesting that certain ethnic groups are more impressionable than others is insulting to our consumers and wrongly suggests that some are incapable of making individual choices.

Martin L. Orlowsky
Chairman, president and
Chief executive officer
Lorillard Tobacco Co.
Greensboro, N.C.


Make the logo bigger said...

The truth is, Newport ads suck.

HighJive said...

Agreed. And technically, there are quite a few Newport ads targeting Whites too. The Big Tobacco executive seemed to be presenting a canned response; i.e., the debate has taken place many times already. His facts are certainly typically slanted. For example, he argues there are twice as many Caucasian menthol smokers versus Blacks. That would be kool if there were only twice as many Caucasians in the overall population versus Blacks. Seems like percentages would be a better indicator than raw numbers.

shaun. said...

ummm, black people like menthol. thats a fact. i smoke menthol. and i always warm people they are menthol before hand.

sorry, i havent read the article yet. maybe ill have something a bit more educated to say when im done.

Anonymous said...

Basically, what your blog is saying is: [1 hour 26 minute debate about racism in debates]

mizj920 said...

Do you even SEE anyone smoking in these ads? If the cigarette box wasn't there, I'm not even sure I'd know what Newport was. said...

I completely agree with the manufacturer's defense. At what point does a marketing campaign cross the line from being "targeted effectively" to becoming "racist"? I'll tell you when. It's when the media decides to play that chord and let it resonate within the uninformed populace.

Isn't that what marketing is? --profiling people in order to reach a target market?--

What's the debate about? Nobody's bitching at Fubu.

HighJive said...

Well,, you’re taking a pretty stereotypical view of things. The major issue involves the reality that menthol cigarettes are considered more potent and hazardous than other types. So when Blacks are identified as a major audience for menthol cigarettes, some people view the tactics to be similar to the marketing of products like, say, malt liquor. The conspiracy theorists take it to another level, deeming it all as more evidence of efforts to hold back and/or harm minorities. Unbelievable as it might sound to you, there are examples of such maneuvers throughout history. Nobody’s complaining about FUBU because that company is not selling products that have negative effects on the health of communities. Plus, FUBU—For Us, By Us—was inspired by notions of racial pride and unity. There’s a big difference, as even you should realize. Thanks for reading and commenting.

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