Leo Burnett Exposed For Complicity in Tobacco Addiction: Activists and Community Leaders Protest Philip Morris's Marlboro Man and Image Makeover

Apr 19, 2001, 01:00 ET from INFACT

    CHICAGO, April 19 /PRNewswire/ -- Chicago community leaders and local
 activists are joining the national corporate accountability organization
 Infact in a protest outside Leo Burnett, the advertising agency that created
 the Marlboro Man image-which has made Philip Morris's Marlboro the #1
 cigarette among US youth. The Rainbow/PUSH Coalition, NAACP-Chicago Southside
 Branch, Christian Council on Urban Affairs, Citywide Coalition Against Tobacco
 and Alcohol Billboards, Community Renewal Society, Faith Community of Saint
 Sabina, Fernwood United Methodist Church, the National Black United Front, and
 Infact are urging Leo Burnett to end its promotion of tobacco addiction around
 the world with aggressive tactics like the Marlboro Man. Community leaders and
 organizations are also building support for Infact's Boycott of Chicagoland-
 based Kraft, Philip Morris's food division, to pressure the tobacco giant to
 stop promoting tobacco to kids and keep out of public health policy. "We're
 here in Kraft's backyard calling on the Leo Burnett agency to stop spreading
 the global tobacco epidemic. Leo Burnett's ads hook kids from the South Side
 of Chicago all the way to the Czech Republic. While pressuring Philip Morris
 directly through the Kraft Boycott, we're also exposing and challenging Leo
 Burnett as an important accomplice to the tobacco giant," says Rev. Paul
 Jakes, pastor of the Old South Baptist Church.
     Protesters wearing masks showing the Marlboro Man as a skeleton are
 delivering thousands of messages signed by Kraft Boycotters from the South
 Side neighborhoods of Chicago and around the world demanding the withdrawal of
 the Marlboro Man. Speakers at the event are challenging Philip Morris's
 targeting of communities of color and honoring the memory of Henry "Mandrake"
 Brown, founder of the Citywide Coalition Against Tobacco and Alcohol
 Billboards, who was killed in 1996. By attending the rally, Mr. Brown's mother
 Mrs. Margarite Brown is adding her voice to the growing pressure on Philip
 Morris to retire the Marlboro Man-described by its creator Jack Landry as "the
 right image to capture the youth market's fancy," and arguably the world's
 leading source of youth tobacco addiction.
     Leo Burnett is also responsible for a massive Philip Morris ad campaign
 aimed at polishing its tarnished image with consumers and policymakers. The
 commercials highlight the tobacco giant's ownership of Kraft and its
 charitable contributions. "Leo Burnett has been doing Philip Morris's dirty
 work for generations-from the creation of the Marlboro Man in 1954 to the
 current corporate image makeover and the recently announced launch of the so-
 called Marlboro Girl," says Infact Organizer Kim Foltz. Despite an 800%
 increase in Philip Morris's image advertising from 1998 to 1999, these ads may
 be backfiring. A recent Harris Interactive poll found that 16% of respondents
 familiar with Philip Morris had boycotted its products in the past year.
     The United Methodist Church's General Board of Church and Society and the
 American Medical Student Association added even more momentum to Infact's
 Kraft Boycott by becoming its latest endorsers, among more than 200
 organizations and prominent individuals. Under swelling pressure from
 consumers and investors leading up to its annual shareholders' meeting in
 Richmond, Virginia on April 26, Philip Morris recently filed for an Initial
 Public Offering of stock for its Kraft Foods subsidiary. The corporation's
 2000 Annual Report shows concern about attracting, motivating, and retaining
 qualified employees-particularly in the food division.
     Today's action is part of the International Weeks of Resistance to Tobacco
 Transnationals 2001, which involves events in 35 countries to protest tobacco
 industry interference in public policy through tactics like heavy-handed
 lobbying, political payoffs, and public relations cover-ups. This mobilization
 will culminate at the end of April, with the Philip Morris annual
 shareholders' meeting and the resumption on April 30 of government
 negotiations on the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC)-an
 international treaty that could limit the tobacco industry's advertising,
 promotion and political influence. Stories and photos from the International
 Weeks of Resistance are available at www.iwr2001.org. "From Chicago, IL to
 Richmond, VA and from Honduras to Togo, community leaders and activists are
 rallying together to demand that Philip Morris withdraw the Marlboro Man and
 stop lobbying to water down public health protections like the Framework
 Convention on Tobacco Control," concludes Infact's Foltz.
     Since 1977, Infact has been exposing life-threatening abuses of
 transnational corporations and organizing successful grassroots campaigns to
 hold corporations accountable to consumers and society at large. From the
 Nestle Boycott of the 1970s and '80s to the GE Boycott of the 1980s and '90s
 to today's Boycott of Philip Morris's Kraft Foods, Infact organizes to win!
 For more information visit www.infact.org.
 
 

SOURCE INFACT
    CHICAGO, April 19 /PRNewswire/ -- Chicago community leaders and local
 activists are joining the national corporate accountability organization
 Infact in a protest outside Leo Burnett, the advertising agency that created
 the Marlboro Man image-which has made Philip Morris's Marlboro the #1
 cigarette among US youth. The Rainbow/PUSH Coalition, NAACP-Chicago Southside
 Branch, Christian Council on Urban Affairs, Citywide Coalition Against Tobacco
 and Alcohol Billboards, Community Renewal Society, Faith Community of Saint
 Sabina, Fernwood United Methodist Church, the National Black United Front, and
 Infact are urging Leo Burnett to end its promotion of tobacco addiction around
 the world with aggressive tactics like the Marlboro Man. Community leaders and
 organizations are also building support for Infact's Boycott of Chicagoland-
 based Kraft, Philip Morris's food division, to pressure the tobacco giant to
 stop promoting tobacco to kids and keep out of public health policy. "We're
 here in Kraft's backyard calling on the Leo Burnett agency to stop spreading
 the global tobacco epidemic. Leo Burnett's ads hook kids from the South Side
 of Chicago all the way to the Czech Republic. While pressuring Philip Morris
 directly through the Kraft Boycott, we're also exposing and challenging Leo
 Burnett as an important accomplice to the tobacco giant," says Rev. Paul
 Jakes, pastor of the Old South Baptist Church.
     Protesters wearing masks showing the Marlboro Man as a skeleton are
 delivering thousands of messages signed by Kraft Boycotters from the South
 Side neighborhoods of Chicago and around the world demanding the withdrawal of
 the Marlboro Man. Speakers at the event are challenging Philip Morris's
 targeting of communities of color and honoring the memory of Henry "Mandrake"
 Brown, founder of the Citywide Coalition Against Tobacco and Alcohol
 Billboards, who was killed in 1996. By attending the rally, Mr. Brown's mother
 Mrs. Margarite Brown is adding her voice to the growing pressure on Philip
 Morris to retire the Marlboro Man-described by its creator Jack Landry as "the
 right image to capture the youth market's fancy," and arguably the world's
 leading source of youth tobacco addiction.
     Leo Burnett is also responsible for a massive Philip Morris ad campaign
 aimed at polishing its tarnished image with consumers and policymakers. The
 commercials highlight the tobacco giant's ownership of Kraft and its
 charitable contributions. "Leo Burnett has been doing Philip Morris's dirty
 work for generations-from the creation of the Marlboro Man in 1954 to the
 current corporate image makeover and the recently announced launch of the so-
 called Marlboro Girl," says Infact Organizer Kim Foltz. Despite an 800%
 increase in Philip Morris's image advertising from 1998 to 1999, these ads may
 be backfiring. A recent Harris Interactive poll found that 16% of respondents
 familiar with Philip Morris had boycotted its products in the past year.
     The United Methodist Church's General Board of Church and Society and the
 American Medical Student Association added even more momentum to Infact's
 Kraft Boycott by becoming its latest endorsers, among more than 200
 organizations and prominent individuals. Under swelling pressure from
 consumers and investors leading up to its annual shareholders' meeting in
 Richmond, Virginia on April 26, Philip Morris recently filed for an Initial
 Public Offering of stock for its Kraft Foods subsidiary. The corporation's
 2000 Annual Report shows concern about attracting, motivating, and retaining
 qualified employees-particularly in the food division.
     Today's action is part of the International Weeks of Resistance to Tobacco
 Transnationals 2001, which involves events in 35 countries to protest tobacco
 industry interference in public policy through tactics like heavy-handed
 lobbying, political payoffs, and public relations cover-ups. This mobilization
 will culminate at the end of April, with the Philip Morris annual
 shareholders' meeting and the resumption on April 30 of government
 negotiations on the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC)-an
 international treaty that could limit the tobacco industry's advertising,
 promotion and political influence. Stories and photos from the International
 Weeks of Resistance are available at www.iwr2001.org. "From Chicago, IL to
 Richmond, VA and from Honduras to Togo, community leaders and activists are
 rallying together to demand that Philip Morris withdraw the Marlboro Man and
 stop lobbying to water down public health protections like the Framework
 Convention on Tobacco Control," concludes Infact's Foltz.
     Since 1977, Infact has been exposing life-threatening abuses of
 transnational corporations and organizing successful grassroots campaigns to
 hold corporations accountable to consumers and society at large. From the
 Nestle Boycott of the 1970s and '80s to the GE Boycott of the 1980s and '90s
 to today's Boycott of Philip Morris's Kraft Foods, Infact organizes to win!
 For more information visit www.infact.org.
 
 SOURCE  INFACT