Tobacco advertising and motorsport…

Motor racing has been another key area for tobacco company sponsorships. The stated objective of the 1990 “Marlboro Superbike Show” in Taiwan was

“…to strengthen Marlboro’s brand image in relation with excitement, vitality and masculinity, especially among young adult consumers.” (Philip Morris, 1990)

“In Malaysia, local advertising restrictions prevent the effective use of the American cowboy in broadcast media. So, we have decided to utilize the Marlboro world of sports as an advertising vehicle in TV, outdoor and newspapers to build Marlboro’s image around its international motorsports involvement…” (Philip Morris, 1990)

Barrie Gill, chief executive of Championship Sports Specialists Ltd., a sports sponsorship company, explains why tobacco companies are so interested in motor racing:

“It’s the ideal sport for sponsorship. It’s got glamour and worldwide television coverage. It’s a 10- month activity involving 16 races in 14 countries with drivers from 16 nationalities. After football it’s the Number One multinational sport. It’s got total global exposure, total global hospitality, total media coverage and 600 million people watching it on TV every fortnight.…It’s macho, it’s excitement, it’s colour, it’s international, it’s glamour.…They’re there to get visibility. They’re there to sell cigarettes.” (1984)

An R.J. Reynolds document supports this view:

“Malaysia, Key Camel Issue 1989: Seed the brand with images of the contemporaneity, glamour and excitement of Formula One – motor racing.” (RJ Reynolds, 1989)

The tobacco companies also sponsor sporting federations when it suits their interests:

“To improve our sports allies we sponsored the Asia Pacific and Oceana Sports Assembly, and have since established a relationship with its president to review opportunities for sponsorship and to identify key sporting contacts by country. Recently this association provided access to Korea’s peak sporting associations.” (Philip Morris, 1989)

In addition to heavy sponsorship of sporting events and teams, the industry has other avenues for attracting young people:

“While sports is by far the best avenue to attract, sample and influence our core target smokers, it’s not the only way. International movies and videos also have tremendous appeal to our young adult consumers in Asia.” (Philip Morris, 1990)

“[In Switzerland] Music is the second of our targeted promotional themes and Marlboro is involved in a big way….The real benefit of the concept is the quality of the personal contact which ensures that Marlboro and music are firmly linked in our target group’s mind.” (Philip Morris, 1990)

“Each region conducted literally hundreds of local and regional promotions which ranged from art and music to academic awards and competitions. They are far too numerous to mention here. Most notable among the transnational promotions was the Philip Morris Superband of jazz musicians who performed in Australia, the Philippines, Japan and Canada, and a special Marlboro Superband that performed in four cities in Spain. The Superbands received exceptional media coverage in each market, including television and radio ‘specials’ in Australia, Japan and Spain.” (Philip Morris, 1986)