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“Unselling” the cigarette

BMJ 1999; 319 doi: (Published 21 August 1999) Cite this as: BMJ 1999;319:524
  1. Melanie Wakefield, visiting research scientist
  1. University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, USA

    For decades, advertising agencies in the United States have been willing accomplices in promoting the sale of cigarettes. Years ago, agencies lauded their tobacco company accounts as prime evidence of their creative ability and competitive edge. These accounts were considered to be pearls, as valuable as those with major car manufacturers, soft drinks producers, breweries, and other free spending marketers of mass consumer products. But now all that is changing.

    Although tobacco marketing still represents a huge source of revenue for agencies, a sizeable countertrend is building as more funds are becoming available for what might be described as the “unselling of the cigarette.” Alex Bogusky, partner and creative director for Crispin Porter and Bogusky in Coral Gables, Florida, told the New York Times: “The reason for cigarettes being among the most powerful brands in America …

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