October 26, 1998 |
Suppose Nike thinks it can sell more sneakers to young black men by using advertisements showing basketball footage. Or Tasty Baking Co. thinks more African Americans will buy its Butterscotch Krimpets if it uses a gospel-music version of its well-known jingle. No harm done, right? It makes good marketing sense to figure out how to sell a product to whatever group is likely to buy it, and then target that group. The idea is at the heart of advertising, marketing and sales. But what if the product is harmful?
September 24, 1999 |
A federal judge yesterday dismissed a novel lawsuit filed last year that contended the tobacco industry violated the civil rights of African Americans by targeting black communities for the sale of what it called more dangerous menthol cigarettes. U.S. District Judge John R. Padova ruled that federal civil rights laws do not bar tobacco product manufacturers from targeting a specific group of potential consumers - in this case African Americans - in their advertising and marketing campaigns.
January 20, 2001 |
Do black smokers prefer more dangerous mentholated cigarettes, or has that taste been seeded and nurtured by the tobacco industry through targeted advertising? This thorny version of the chicken-and-egg conundrum was put to a panel of federal appeals judges yesterday. The jurists were being asked to reinstate a dismissed class-action civil-rights suit filed against the tobacco industry by black smokers. "Out of the population, African Americans are less than 10 percent," lawyer William R. Adams Jr. told the three judges of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit.
October 22, 1998 |
A lawsuit contending that tobacco companies violated the civil rights of African Americans by purposely marketing what the suit calls more-dangerous menthol cigarettes in black communities has been filed in federal court in Philadelphia. The proposed nationwide class-action suit, filed Monday against 12 tobacco companies or industry groups, is believed to be the first suit against the tobacco companies on behalf of African Americans. It is also, lawyers say, the first lawsuit to use the approach of suing tobacco companies under federal civil-rights law rather than personal-injury or product-liability statutes.
January 21, 1990 |
An organizer of a coalition whose protests helped stop plans to test a new cigarette among black smokers in the city said yesterday that the R. J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. should re-examine its marketing approach. "I think they will learn that this kind of marketing technique is not something communities like," said Pastor Jesse Brown, president of the Committee to Prevent Cancer Among Blacks. Another coalition member, John Dodds, director of the Philadelphia Unemployment Project, said that the tobacco company's attempt to create a cigarette specifically for black smokers was "just another way of exploiting the inner city.
October 11, 1994 |
ODOR ORDER: R.J. Reynolds, the tobacconists who bombed with the smokeless, foul-tasting "Premiere" brand in the late '80s and the minority-targeted public relations disaster "Uptown" a while back, has a new idea. Starting this month on military bases, they'll be selling "Salem Preferred," a menthol that is supposed to stink less than the average butt. There are a few potential problems here, the Wall Street Journal reports: There could be criticism, a la "Uptown," that the introduction of a new menthol, the kind of cigarette known to be preferred by black and Latino smokers, is a concerted attempt to undermine their health.
January 21, 1990
A funny thing happened to Uptown, the hip, new menthol cigarette that R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. was going to test-market among black smokers in Philadelphia. The company was getting everything just right for a Feb. 5 test burn - the media blitz, the just-right packaging, the demographics. Except this time people got mad. They ambushed Uptown on its way into town. By late Friday, R.J. Reynolds knew the PR war was lost. It canceled the test-marketing in Philadelphia, saying the new brand was getting "unfair and biased attention.
January 25, 2009
Vieux Carré gives new meaning to the notion of drinking "green. " Sure, the name and the ornately decorated square bottle are a nod to New Orleans, the historic seat of absinthe in America during the Belle Époque. But this latest entry in the red-hot revival of absinthe is as fresh and local as it gets - released last month by the distillers of Bluecoat gin in Northeast Philadelphia. Echoing Bluecoat's highly aromatic take on gin, Vieux Carré pushes the herbal envelope - even for absinthe - with so much natural chlorophyll in the coarsely-filtered liquor that it looks like milky pondwater when mixed with a sugar cube and cool water.
October 4, 2009 |
It's hard to argue with the Food and Drug Administration's decision to ban the sale of flavored cigarettes. To be honest, I always thought cigarettes came in regular and menthol, not chocolate and strawberry. The legislation passed earlier this year giving the FDA authority over tobacco products authorized it to ban flavored cigarettes, while protecting the kind I got hooked on. The justification for the ban is that the cigarette companies have been using kiddie flavors, as they've used cartoon characters, to appeal to teenagers.
June 12, 2009 |
The tobacco-control movement celebrated another milestone yesterday as the U.S. Senate easily passed a bill giving the government unprecedented power over the making and marketing of tobacco products. Supporters say the law will enable the Food and Drug Administration to protect children from the addictive lure of cigarettes, make tobacco products safer, and, ultimately, save some of the 400,000 lives lost annually to tobacco-related illness. "For four or five decades, tobacco companies have preyed on our children . . . knowing they'd get addicted at a young age," said Richard J. Durbin of Illinois, the Senate's second-ranking Democrat.