AMERICAN LUNG ASS'N SEEKS BAN ON ALL CIG AD SYMBOLS: HEALTH GROUP SUGGESTS USING ONLY PICTURES OF PACKAGE

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The American Lung Association charged last week that the tobacco settlement's ad restrictions are not strong enough.

The group cited a new R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. ad for Camel Lights cigarettes that the group claimed appeals to children while still meeting the new guidelines.

The association suggested the ad rules be revised to limit tobacco advertising to simple pictures of the package, claiming any other symbolism could be used by tobacco companies to illegally target those under the legal age for buying cigarettes.

`BAN ALL SYMBOLISM'

"Tobacco companies are not interested in anyone over 24," said Dan Cohen, president of Dan Cohen Marketing/Communications, and one of four members of a team American Lung Association had review the proposed agreement.

Penelope Queen, director of brand consultancy for TEAM Strategic International, and another member of the team, said symbols could be used to lure kids and, rather than try to differentiate symbols, it was simpler to ban all symbolism.

The ad rules-as originally drafted by the Food & Drug Administration and then strengthened in negotiations between attorneys general and the tobacco companies-would bar ads picturing people or showing caricatures, among other things.

Up to now, that had been sufficient for most health groups, especially since a U.S. District Court decision had tossed out the FDA ad rules. Only the American Academy of Pediatrics has urged a different stand, calling for a ban on all tobacco ads.

TARGETING OTHER ISSUES

Most major health groups expressing problems with the settlement fired instead at tax, liability, or document-disclosure issues, or the lack of overseas marketing provisions.

The American Lung Association's proposition is "the most radical proposal yet put forward," said Dan Jaffe, exec VP of the Association of National Advertisers. "It makes clear they are not [just] concerned about young people."

"They want to say that an advertisement in a magazine where 90% of the readers are adults should be restricted," said John Fithian, an attorney for the Freedom to Advertise Coalition. "There is little doubt that [that] is unconstitutional."

IN `SI' ON JULY 7

The Camel Light ad cited by the group, from Mezzina/Brown, New York, ran in the July 7 issue of Sports Illustrated and pictures the camel emblem from the brand's packaging on an eagle-shaped badge, with the headline, "Live out loud."

Reynolds denied the group's charge, saying that the ad had been tested and reached people over 21, and was similar to ads it had run for years.

Ms. Queen said the ad represented an attempt to use a Harley-Davidson-like emblem "as complex metaphors that have important meaning to youth culture."

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