A new report from a coalition of public health groups accuses Marlboro of purposely targeting teenagers with marketing campaigns around the world, so that the teens will become smokers, and later die of smoking-related illness. Mean.
The Marlboro man is dead, but Phillip Morris lives on. And just because the U.S. has cracked down on tobacco advertising doesn't mean that every other country has. The report, from the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids and several similar groups, says that Phillip Morris's big new post-Marlboro Man ad campaign, called "Be Marlboro," targets teens with time-tested tactics including sponsoring concerts and parties, plastering outdoor ads everywhere, and generally (to use a technical term) showing pictures of cool people with Marlboros which appeal to teens because teens are even more suggestible than the average non-teen idiot. Ad Age reports that Phillip Morris spent almost $7 billion(!) on marketing in 2012, including more than $60 Million on "Be Marlboro."
According to the report: "While tobacco companies claim publicly that they do not market to youth or design marketing campaigns that target them, a 2013 study conducted in low- and middle-income countries showed that 22% of five- and six-year-olds surveyed were able to correctly identify Marlboro cigarettes, the world's best-selling cigarette brand."
The ad agency in charge of this campaign is Leo Burnett. One might reasonably say that whether or not they are purposely targeting teens, they are still evil motherfuckers.