Philip Morris Under Fire at Annual Meeting: Church Leaders, Students, and Community Activists Join Infact to Demand End to Marlboro Man as Kraft Boycott Momentum Builds

Apr 26, 2001, 01:00 ET from Infact

    RICHMOND, Va., April 26 /PRNewswire/ -- As Philip Morris polishes its
 image and trumpets its progress before shareholders at its annual meeting,
 church leaders, students, and community activists from across the country are
 joining the national corporate accountability organization Infact to urge the
 tobacco giant to end the abusive practices behind its PR. The United Methodist
 General Board of Church and Society, mothers and daughters on "take our
 daughters to work day," the award-winning filmmaker of Making a Killing:
 Philip Morris, Kraft and Global Tobacco Addiction, students from Virginia to
 Idaho, and Infact are demanding that Philip Morris withdraw the Marlboro Man,
 arguably the world's leading source of youth tobacco addiction.
     "Philip Morris should know that people around the world are not fooled by
 its slick PR, and are calling for real change. We've seen enough fancy
 footwork and feel-good commercials. Now, through the growing Boycott targeting
 the corporation's Kraft Foods, we're sending a clear message directly to top
 decisionmakers today: Give the Marlboro Man the Boot!" says Infact Executive
 Director Kathryn Mulvey.
     Dressed in black and wearing masks, protesters outside of the meeting are
 holding a giant 12-foot-by-12-foot banner showing the Marlboro Man as a
 skeleton, and urging shareholders to take action to rid the world of an ad
 icon described by its creator as "the right image to capture the youth
 market's fancy." Inside the meeting, dozens of people are approaching the
 corporation's top leadership, calling on them to use their leadership and
 influence to move Philip Morris away from its abusive practices.
 An integral part of Philip Morris's massive campaign to improve its public
 image with consumers and policymakers has been to highlight its ownership of
 Kraft and its charitable contributions through heart-warming commercials.
 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.
     Lois Clinton of the United Methodist Church's General Board of Church and
 Society explains why the Board voted to join Infact's Kraft Boycott earlier
 this Spring. "Philip Morris is a corporate wolf preying on the children of the
 world cloaked in the sheep's clothing of Kraft. The Kraft Boycott is a
 constructive way to stem the tide of the global tobacco epidemic," says
 Clinton. More than 200 institutions and prominent individuals, including the
 American Medical Student Association, have now endorsed the Kraft Boycott.
 Under swelling pressure from consumers and investors leading up to its annual
 meeting, 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.
     Earlier this week, as top Philip Morris executives prepped and planned at
 the Jefferson Hotel in downtown Richmond, local residents sponsored a
 Jefferson Hotel showing of Making a Killing. This hard-hitting documentary is
 also screening and receiving an award at the prestigious 34th Annual
 WorldFest-Houston International Film Festival. Already shown in more than 30
 countries including on national television in Nigeria last week, the film
 exposes Philip Morris's aggressive promotion of Marlboro and other brands to
 kids, especially in economically poor countries. Tami Gold, who produced the
 film along with Kelly Anderson, is addressing the annual meeting today to ask
 Chair and CEO Geoffrey Bible what Philip Morris is doing to correct the
 outrageous abuses she documented.
     Leading up to today's meeting, activists in more than 35 countries
 participated in the International Weeks of Resistance to Tobacco
 Transnationals 2001, protesting tobacco industry interference in public policy
 through tactics like heavy-handed lobbying, political payoffs, and public
 relations cover-ups. With this global movement as a backdrop, negotiations
 resume next week on the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control-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 initiatives like the Framework
 Convention on Tobacco Control," concludes Infact's Mulvey.
 
     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.
 
                     MAKE YOUR OPINION COUNT -  Click Here
                http://tbutton.prnewswire.com/prn/11690X25216133
 
 

SOURCE Infact
    RICHMOND, Va., April 26 /PRNewswire/ -- As Philip Morris polishes its
 image and trumpets its progress before shareholders at its annual meeting,
 church leaders, students, and community activists from across the country are
 joining the national corporate accountability organization Infact to urge the
 tobacco giant to end the abusive practices behind its PR. The United Methodist
 General Board of Church and Society, mothers and daughters on "take our
 daughters to work day," the award-winning filmmaker of Making a Killing:
 Philip Morris, Kraft and Global Tobacco Addiction, students from Virginia to
 Idaho, and Infact are demanding that Philip Morris withdraw the Marlboro Man,
 arguably the world's leading source of youth tobacco addiction.
     "Philip Morris should know that people around the world are not fooled by
 its slick PR, and are calling for real change. We've seen enough fancy
 footwork and feel-good commercials. Now, through the growing Boycott targeting
 the corporation's Kraft Foods, we're sending a clear message directly to top
 decisionmakers today: Give the Marlboro Man the Boot!" says Infact Executive
 Director Kathryn Mulvey.
     Dressed in black and wearing masks, protesters outside of the meeting are
 holding a giant 12-foot-by-12-foot banner showing the Marlboro Man as a
 skeleton, and urging shareholders to take action to rid the world of an ad
 icon described by its creator as "the right image to capture the youth
 market's fancy." Inside the meeting, dozens of people are approaching the
 corporation's top leadership, calling on them to use their leadership and
 influence to move Philip Morris away from its abusive practices.
 An integral part of Philip Morris's massive campaign to improve its public
 image with consumers and policymakers has been to highlight its ownership of
 Kraft and its charitable contributions through heart-warming commercials.
 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.
     Lois Clinton of the United Methodist Church's General Board of Church and
 Society explains why the Board voted to join Infact's Kraft Boycott earlier
 this Spring. "Philip Morris is a corporate wolf preying on the children of the
 world cloaked in the sheep's clothing of Kraft. The Kraft Boycott is a
 constructive way to stem the tide of the global tobacco epidemic," says
 Clinton. More than 200 institutions and prominent individuals, including the
 American Medical Student Association, have now endorsed the Kraft Boycott.
 Under swelling pressure from consumers and investors leading up to its annual
 meeting, 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.
     Earlier this week, as top Philip Morris executives prepped and planned at
 the Jefferson Hotel in downtown Richmond, local residents sponsored a
 Jefferson Hotel showing of Making a Killing. This hard-hitting documentary is
 also screening and receiving an award at the prestigious 34th Annual
 WorldFest-Houston International Film Festival. Already shown in more than 30
 countries including on national television in Nigeria last week, the film
 exposes Philip Morris's aggressive promotion of Marlboro and other brands to
 kids, especially in economically poor countries. Tami Gold, who produced the
 film along with Kelly Anderson, is addressing the annual meeting today to ask
 Chair and CEO Geoffrey Bible what Philip Morris is doing to correct the
 outrageous abuses she documented.
     Leading up to today's meeting, activists in more than 35 countries
 participated in the International Weeks of Resistance to Tobacco
 Transnationals 2001, protesting tobacco industry interference in public policy
 through tactics like heavy-handed lobbying, political payoffs, and public
 relations cover-ups. With this global movement as a backdrop, negotiations
 resume next week on the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control-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 initiatives like the Framework
 Convention on Tobacco Control," concludes Infact's Mulvey.
 
     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.
 
                     MAKE YOUR OPINION COUNT -  Click Here
                http://tbutton.prnewswire.com/prn/11690X25216133
 
 SOURCE  Infact