"Mr. Butts Goes to Washington," a 30-second animated spot from Houston Effler Herstek Favat, Boston, broke last week in Massachusetts. The Centers for Disease Control will pay to run the ad in 19 states, possibly as early as this week, and also offer it as a public service announcement.
In the spot, Mr. Butts tells a congressional committee he likes children (the industry denies it targets children) and talks about all the things he gives back to the economy-such as T-shirts, lighters and "camel races," an obvious reference to R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co.'s Joe Camel.
Funding for the $210,000 spot came from the states of Massachusetts and Michigan.
The Tobacco Institute was not amused. "I think the more appropriate role for government is to give information instead of launching political attack campaigns," a spokesman said.
The spot coincides with the Jan. 2 deadline for comment on a Food & Drug Administration plan to assert regulatory power over tobacco.