TOBACCO ADVERTISING ENDS IN THE U.K.

Demise Marked by Flurry of Last-Minute Promotional Stunts

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LONDON (AdAge.com) -- A ban on tobacco advertising in the U.K. starting today ends two of
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Britain's longest-running ad campaigns.

The ban ends an estimated $35 million-a-year magazine, newspaper, outdoor and Internet tobacco advertising. Starting in May, unsolicited direct mail, coupons and free samples will be banned and promotions will be allowed only at point-of-sale.

120,000 deaths
The Independent of London reports that tobacco is responsible for 120,000 lung-cancer and heart-disease-related deaths a year in the U.K. The Department of Health estimates the ban on all forms of tobacco advertising and sponsorships will save 3,000 lives a year.

In a last burst of promotional activity tobacco marketer Gallaher ended the week with an intensive campaign for its two brands, Silk Cut cigarettes and Hamlet cigars.

Last promotion
Gallaher's agency for Silk Cut, M&C Saatchi, London, made the last tobacco ad promotion a play on the brand's long history of print ads. Those ads have featured slashed purple silk in depictions of everything from a cheese grater to the shower curtain scene from the movie Psycho.

Silk Cut's farewell includes a singing fat lady, clad in purple silk with a rent in the side of the dress. On Feb. 13, a large woman in slit purple silk toured London performing songs to emphasize that U.K. tobacco advertising is not over "Until the fat lady sings."

Terribly wrong
For Hamlet cigars, Gallaher marked 40 years of advertising by CDP Travissully, London, with a temporary Web site of it TV, cinema and radio ads. Decades of tobacco ads created the "Hamlet Moment," in which something goes terribly wrong for a regular guy who finds solace by lighting up a Hamlet.

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