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UP IN SMOKE: Tobacco advertising once again proved to be the most combustible of marketing-related topics in this month's SPINdex lineup.

Marketing concessions related to the tobacco industry's landmark settlement generated 366 news stories totaling 237,200 words of copy and 44 minutes of network TV news time in the SPINdex sample of influential media outlets during the one-month period leading up to this column.

With a SPINdex of 4,715, the tobacco settlement generated more than twice the number of media impressions as the next biggest marketing story of the month, the Southern Baptist Convention's boycott of Walt Disney Co.

Rounding out this month's top five were movie marketing stories, dominated by news of tie-ins to "Batman & Robin."

The dynamic duo scored a SPINdex of 558, enough to bat "The Lost World: Jurassic Park" down to fourth place, with a SPINdex of 425.

The marketing of Disney's "Hercules" ranked fifth with a SPINdex score of 350.

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