The Jakarta Post
American global cigarette and tobacco company Philip Morris International (PMI) has launched an aggressive new marketing campaign to revitalize its Marlboro brand in more than 50 countries despite a German court's findings that the campaign targets youth and similar complaints in other countries, a report issued today by six international public health organizations says.
The new report titled You're the Target reveals that to target the youth, the cowboy on the horse has been replaced with youth on a mountain bike and snowboard.
The Southeast Asia Tobacco Control Alliance (SEATCA) said PMI had continued to aggressively roll-out the newly launched 'Be Marlboro' campaign globally, including in Indonesia and the Philippines where smoking prevalence remained high.
'Both the Philippines and Indonesia are cash cows for PMI and other tobacco companies,' SEATCA senior policy advisor Mary Assunta said in a release made available to The Jakarta Post on Thursday.
There are 17 million smokers in the Philippines and 65 million smokers in Indonesia, reports say.
'The fact that PMI continues with the Marlboro campaign in Asia despite being found guilty in Germany only goes to show they want Asia's children no matter what. We have to stop them and protect our children using stringent laws,' said Assunta.
Launched in Germany in 2011, the global marketing campaign associates smoking Marlboro with a youth-friendly lifestyle of risk-taking, exploration and freedom by delivering a message 'Don't Be a Maybe. Be Marlboro'.
The ads feature images of attractive young people engaging in adventure sports such as snowboarding, mountain biking, partying, falling in love, and playing music.
The campaign tells young audiences that 'Maybe never fell in love' or 'A maybe is not invited' and they should define themselves by choosing to 'Be Marlboro'.
In October 2013, a German court banned the 'Be Marlboro' campaign, saying that it encouraged children as young as 14 to smoke in violation of Germany's tobacco advertising law.
'The advertising specifically targets risk-taking, rebellious youths,' the court said. Complaints that the campaign targets youth and violates advertising regulations have also been filed in Brazil, Colombia and Switzerland. (ebf)
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