Continued Tobacco Industry Deception uncovered a 1994 R.J. Reynolds tobacco company SECRET DOCUMENT describing the tobacco industry's strategy to use alternative publications to manipulate the preferences and behavior of American youth. The internal publication disclosed a new marketing approach referred to as Trend Influence Marketing (TIM). TIM abandons standard advertising campaigns and jumps directly into the arena of trying to "become the trend-maker." R.J. Reynolds and Philip Morris utilize TIM to increase the popularity of Camel and Marlboro cigarettes respectively.

A report published in the January 2002 American Journal of Public Health concluded that, "The tobacco industry has increased its use of bars and clubs as promotional venues and has used the alternative press to reach the young adults who frequent these establishments. This increased targeting of young adults may be associated with an increase in smoking among this group" [summary of report]. The Journal article confirms the effectiveness of TIM, yet fails to speak directly to the deception associated with the tobacco industry strategy.

This case study captures the historical development of Trend Influence Marketing in Albuquerque, New Mexico, beginning with the clandestine recruitment of smoking "hipsters" who surreptitiously peddle tobacco products to unsuspecting young adults, and tracks weekly tobacco industry penetration into the market using the "free" alternative publication, Weekly Alibi.

By the early 1990s tobacco industry executives were under intense pressure from anti-smoking advocacy groups. Education efforts had increased awareness among consumers about the illusions incorporated in traditional tobacco product advertising. Facing slowing sales of their tobacco products, the industry was looking for a new approach. TIM strategy acknowledges that "shoving products in the face of the consumer is no longer the successful way to infiltrate this market. Today's 'Generation X' consumer is most influenced by what he or she sees in the hands of friends, not by some stiff riding a horse in a magazine advertisement."

The key element of TIM is to conduct the 'aggressive advertising' covertly. "The minute someone blatantly pushes 'trendy,' it's not. Trend Influence Marketing is underground. For this program to be executed properly, we as a marketing company will appear almost invisible. Nothing that takes place can appear sales-oriented and everything we do will be perceived as cool. The objective is to have 'hipsters' feel as though smoking Camel is their idea, that they started the trend."

R.J. Reynolds stated further that to reach the hipsters we must "speak their language, dress their dress, and walk their walk." We will recruit "our field marketing staff from the 'inside.'" The original R.J. Reynolds' strategy is titled, "Camel Club." KBA Lifestyle Marketing developed the program. KBA states, "We will be recruiting our field marketing staff from the 'inside:' people who have worked in and around the nightclub/bar business and trendy community" [see SECRET DOCUMENT (p.3)].

In the May 6-12th and 13-19th, 1999 editions of the Weekly Alibi, KBA Lifestyle Marketing posted this employment ad. All TIM efforts will be reinforced by savvy, localized alternative media campaigns -- the Weekly Alibi is an example of a local alternative media publication.

The promoters of Camel cigarettes noted "there are many local, national and international newspapers and magazines that hipsters read to follow the trends. These media vehicles are a critical part of the network to help the spread of trends... These free periodicals are distributed at most trendy nighclubs and are found in the stores and coffeehouses that the club crowd frequents... Aligning Camel with certain publications by way of advertising lends immediate hip credibility to the brand."

Most U.S. cities have alternative publications. These tabloid-type newspapers are generally free to the public, widely distributed and published on a weekly basis. Publications like the Weekly Alibi are willing partners to this public deception. Frequently, the Weekly Alibi runs a self-promotion claiming their publication is, "The Best Paper Money Can't Buy." Weekly editions are free to the public, as revenue comes from the multitude of advertising. Money does buy influence between the covers. The Weekly Alibi is free and trendy. Many young people under age 18 read the weekly editions -- and there are numerous tobacco advertisements per issue.

The Weekly Alibi boasts a large readership in the Albuquerque area. They report (April 15-21st, 1999) they print 45,000 copies; each copy is read by an estimated 2.67 individuals equaling an estimated 120,000 readers. There are 650 outlets for their publication city wide. Kids and teens read the Weekly Alibi. The Weekly Alibi "targets every Generation, from the Baby Busters to the Baby Boomers. Distributed throughout Alq, Rio Rancho, Corrales, East Mountain, Bernalillo, Placitas, Santa Fe and Los Lunas."

The Weekly Alibi is "available at restaurants, grocery stores, college campuses, select retailers and various downtown locations. Coverage includes politics, humor, film, opinion, music, art and the most comprehensive entertainment guide in Nuevo Mexico. Arriba!"

No Marketing to Kids
Philip Morris TV Advertisement

While the tobacco industry announces publicly they do not target youth under 18, they aggressively promote and market their products in publication that do target America's youth.

Philip Morris is currently spending millions of dollars on a public relations campaign. They tell America that "Things Are Changing." This current tobacco advertising and promotional strategy demonstrates things are not changing. The tobacco industry pretends to wear new clothes, but they still prey on America's youth.

Today, the tobacco industry admits smoking kills. On July 21, 2000, Philip Morris (PM) ran full-page advertisements in newspapers across the nation. In their communication, PM states, "There is overwhelming medical and scientific consensus that cigarette smoking causes lung cancer, heart disease, emphysema and other serious diseases in smokers. Smokers are far more likely to develop serious diseases, like lung cancer, than non-smokers. There is no 'safe' cigarette."

Things are changing
Philip Morris TV Advertisement

PM commented directly about youth smoking, "We do not want children to smoke; youth smoking is a serious problem and we want to be part of the solution." PM also addressed the issue of tobacco and nicotine addiction: "Cigarette smoking is addictive... It can be very difficult to quit smokng, but this should not deter smokers who want to quit from trying to do so."

During the landmark Florida smokers lawsuit, the Brown & Williamson representative had this message for the jury, "I sincerely apologize to you [to sick smokers] on behalf of myself and on behalf of the 7,200 workers at Brown & Williamson."

To the right is a scanned image of p. 53 from Weekly Alibi August 26th through September 1, 1999. The page is titled,
Camel Page: Your Guide to Urban Nightlife.

Camel's logo is displayed a number of times. There is a smiling, happy woman in the lower left corner listed as "Some Gal." She is quoted saying, "Let's be happy and feel the joy at Ned's."

Following the TIM strategy, the page highlights some of Albuquerque's perceived trendy spots. This includes Gecko's, Brewster's Pub and The Martini Grille. The page also features a number of Neighborhood Bars, various Live Music Venues and top Dance Clubs.

The uncovered R.J. Reynolds' CONFIDENTIAL document shows the transparency of the TIM strategy. This document was a trial exhibit in the Mangini case (Mangini v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company, Civil Case No. 939359). Is this strategy effective? Sales of Camel cigarettes skyrocketed through the mid-90s. Furthermore, Marlboro now has a similar strategy...

  Camel Club image
Weekly Alibi: August 26-September 1,1999
-- click on image to enlarge --

From the August 12-18th Weekly Alibi is an example of Marlboro's version of the TIM strategy
(see image at right).

The Marlboro connection is clearly evident. Following the TIM template, the advertisement highlights many of Albuquerque's trendy spots. These include Boot Scoots Nite Club, Howie's Sports Page, Sneakerz, Two Minute Warning, Sunset Bar & Grill and Metropolis.

  Marlboro Club image
Weekly Alibi: August 12-18th,1999
-- click on image to enlarge --

TRACKING INDUSTRY MARKETING PENETRATION has followed TIM marketing in the Weekly Alibi for over two years. Between May 6, 1999 and January 2, 2002, we counted over 215 TIM features (full-page color spots). This is a systematic, highly-coordinated strategy. Generally, the brightly colored advertisements for each brand falls on the same page, or similar locations, from week to week. While we did not count the smaller associated TIM promotions, we noted there are frequently 3-4 quarter page club or bar co-sponsored spots per edition. The publication dates are:

  Edition Product Product Comments and Notes
  Dec27-Jan2 Camel p.35    
  Dec20-Dec26   Marlboro p.35  
  Dec13-Dec19 Camel p.44    
  Dec6-Dec12   Marlboro p.35  
  Nov29-Dec5 Camel p.38    
  Nov22-Nov28 Camel p.40    
  Nov15-Nov21     no ads
  Nov8-Nov14 Camel p.35 Marlboro p.29  
  Nov1-Nov7     no ads
  Oct25-Oct31 Camel p.38    
  Oct18-Oct24   Marlboro p.29  
  Oct11-Oct17 Camel p.43    
  Sept20-Sept26 Camel p.28    
  Sept13-Sept19 Camel p.31    
  Sept6-Sept12 Camel p.24 Marlboro p.19  
  Aug30-Sept5 Camel p.33    
  Aug23-Aug29 Camel p.44    
  Aug16-Aug22 Camel p.56    
  Aug9-Aug15 Camel p.41 Marlboro p.33  
  Aug2-Aug8 Camel p.41    
  July26-Aug1 Camel p.37    
  July19-July25 Camel p.28-29 Marlboro p.19  
  July12-July18 Camel p.41   CAMEL & Jokers p.39
  July5-July11 Camel p.27 Marlboro p.21  
  June28-July4 Camel p.49    
  June21-June27 Camel p.37    
  June14-June20 Camel p.41    
  June7-June13 Camel p.35 Marlboro p.29  
  May31-June6 Camel p.41    
  May24-May30 Camel p.45    
  May17-May23 Camel p.47   Cigarette Outlet p.28
  May10-May16 Camel p.44 Marlboro p.49  
  May3-May9 Camel p.32   Dirt Cheap Cigs p.11
  Apr26-May2 Camel p.49   Dirt Cheap Cigs p.11
  Apr19-Apr25 Camel p.49 Marlboro p.43 Dirt Cheap Cigs p.11
  Apr12-Apr18 Camel p.35* Socyer "Ouch" p.40 *7 Pleasures of the Casbah
  Apr5-Apr11 Camel p.108* Marlboro p. 101 *7 Pleasures of the Casbah
  Mar29-Apr4 Camel p.35   Dirt Cheap Cigs p.17
  Mar15-Mar21 Camel p.38    
  Mar8-Mar14 Camel p.28 Marlboro p.25  
  Mar1-Mar7 Camel p.37    
  Feb22-Feb28 Camel p.38    
  Feb15-Feb21 Camel p.38    
  Feb8-Feb14 Camel p.41   Dirt Cheap Cigs p.11
  Feb1-Feb7 Camel p.38    
  Jan25-Jan31 Camel p.38    
  Jan18-Jan24 Camel p.36    
  Jan11-Jan17 No Ads
  Jan4-Jan10 No Ads
  Dec28-Jan3   Marlboro p.28  
  Dec21-Dec27 Camel p.53 Marlboro p.21  
  Dec14-Dec20 Camel p.48 Marlboro p.40  
  Dec6-Dec13 Camel p.41 Marlboro p.34-35* Two-page "holiday" special
  Nov30-Dec5 Camel p.40 Marlboro p.31 Dirt Cheap Cigarettes p.9
  Nov23-Nov29 Camel p.40    
  Nov16-Nov22 Camel p.46 Marlboro p.35,41* *Win Trip to the Marlboro Ranch
  Nov9-Nov15 Camel p.41 Marlboro p.35  
  Nov2-Nov8 Camel p.52 Marlboro p.40*,45 *Win Trip to the Marlboro Ranch
  Oct26-Nov1 Camel p.40    
  Oct19-Oct25 Camel p.40 Marlboro p.35*,46 *Win Trip to the Marlboro Ranch
  Oct12-Oct18 Camel p.49 Marlboro p.25,48* *Win Trip to the Marlboro Ranch
  Oct5-Oct11 Camel p.54,55 Marlboro p.43*,49 *You Get a Lot to Like
  Sep28-Oct4 Camel p.46 Marlboro p.11*,41 *Full Flavor Kings
  Sep21-Sep27 Camel p.49,50 Marlboro p.21,37,43* *TONIC with Special Guest STIR
  Sep14-Sep20 Camel p.35 Marlboro p.27* *TONIC with Special Guest STIR
  Sep7-Sep13 Camel p.49 Marlboro p.37,43* *TONIC with Special Guest STIR
  Aug31-Sep6 Camel p.40* Marlboro p.33 *Turkish Gold, dirtcheapcigs p.11
  Aug24-Aug30 Camel p.22*,25,28** Marlboro p.19 *DJ Oona, **DJ Leo
  Aug17-Aug23 Camel p.70,74*,78 Marlboro p.63,79 *SuperJane -- Weekly Alibi Sponsored
  Aug10-Aug16 Camel p.36,40** Marlboro p.18*,31,45 *Racing School,**SuperJane
  Aug3-Aug9 Camel p.40 Marlboro p.35* *A Night of Live Music
  Jul27-Aug2 Camel p.40* Marlboro p.33 *Pleasure to Burn
  Jul20-Jul26 Camel p.53*   *Turkish Gold
  Jul13-Jul19 Camel p.45* Marlboro p.37 *Turkish Gold
  Jul6-Jul12 Camel p.41*   *Turkish Gold
  Jun29-Jul5 Camel p.52* Marlboro p.49 *Turkish Gold, cheapcigs p.34
  Jun22-Jun28 Camel p.38*   *Turkish Gold
  Jun15-Jun21 Camel p.52* Marlboro p.40,p.45** *Turkish Gold,**Marlboro Ranch
  Jun8-Jun14 NA* NA* *unavailable
  Jun1-Jun7 Camel p.52 Marlboro 31*,40**,45 *new menthols,**Marlboro Ranch
  May25-May31 Camel p.30,33 Marlboro 25*,35** *new menthols,**Marlboro Ranch
  May18-May24 Camel p.49 Marlboro p.45*, 55 *new menthol product
  May11-May17 Camel p.40 Marlboro p.33* *new menthol product
  May4-May10 Camel p.55 Marlboro p.48*, 63 *new menthol product
  Apr27-May3 Camel p.40*   *exotic blends, pleasure to burn
  Apr20-Apr26 Camel p.44,46*   *exotic blends, pleasure to burn
  Apr13-Apr19 Camel p.35*   *exotic blends, pleasure to burn
  Apr6-Apr12 Camel p.85* Marlboro p.80 *exotic blends, pleasure to burn
  Mar30-Apr5 Camel p.38* Marlboro p.32-33 *exotic blends, pleasure to burn
  Mar23-Mar29 Camel p.35*   *exotic blends, pleasure to burn
  Mar16-Mar22 Camel p.38    
  Mar9-Mar15 Camel p.58*   *limited supply: exotic pleasure p.63
  Mar2-Mar8 Camel p.38    
  Feb24-Mar1 Camel p.38    
  Feb17-23 Camel p.46 Marlboro p.41  
  Feb10-16 Camel p.40 Marlboro p.35* *new Marlboro feature, Cowboy's Place
  Feb3-Feb9 Camel p.40*   *more exotic pleasure p.46
  Jan27-Feb2 Camel p.41    
  Jan20-Jan26 Camel p.40    
  Jan13-Jan19 Camel p.44-45*   New Product Promotion -- Exotic line
  Jan6-Jan12     No tobacco ads
  Dec30-Jan5 Camel p.46    
  Dec23-29 Camel p.40    
  Dec16-22 Camel p.63 Marlboro p.51* *additional two page Seasonal Promo
  Dec9-15 Camel p.40    
  Dec2-8 Camel p.46* Marlboro p.40 *full page color NY's Eve Promo
  Nov25-Dec1 Camel p.48    
  Nov18-Nov24 Camel p.40 Marlboro p.33  
  Nov11-Nov17 Camel p.40   New item: Marlboro Racing School Promotion
  Nov4-Nov10 Camel p.40 Marlboro p.46 Marlboro Ranch Promotion
  Oct28-Nov3 Camel p.40    
  Oct21-Oct27 Camel p.46 Marlboro p.41 Marlboro Ranch Promotion
  Oct14-Oct20 Camel p.45    
  Oct7-Oct13 Camel p.40 Marlboro p.45 New item: Marlboro Ranch Promotion
  Sep30-Oct6 Camel p.46    
  Sep23-Sep29 Camel p.45    
  Sep16-Sep22 Camel p.36    
  Sep9-Sep15 Camel p.45 Marlboro p.40  
  Sep2-Sep8 Camel p.41    
  Aug26-Sep1 Camel p.53 Marlboro p.61  
  Aug19-Aug25 Camel p.61    
  Aug12-Aug18 Camel p.40 Marlboro p.48  
  Aug5-Aug11 Camel p.36    
  Jul29-Aug4 Camel p.40 Marlboro p.33  
  Jul22-Jul28 Camel p.36    
  Jul15-Jul21 Camel p.56 Marlboro p.49  
  Jul8-Jul14 Camel p.41    
  Jul1-Jul7 Camel p.35 Marlboro p.41  
  Jun24-Jun30 Camel p.45    
  Jun17-Jun23 NA NA  
  Jun10-Jun16 no TIM no TIM  
  Jun3-Jun9   Marlboro p.31  
  May27-Jun2 no TIM no TIM  
  May20-May26   Marlboro p.37  
  May13-May19 no TIM no TIM KBA Recruitment Ad p.61
  May6-May12   Marlboro p.37 KBA Recruitment Ad p.56 asks respectfully that the Weekly Alibi cease and desist aiding this tobacco industry conspiracy. As even the tobacco industry now recognizes the dangers of smoking, and apologizes for their conduct, asks the Weekly Alibi to drop all tobacco advertising and promotion. [Another example of the tobacco industry deception.] recognizes that the Weekly Alibi is not alone in this public deception. We provide a listing here of participating restaurants, bars and night clubs. It is time to stop putting money before morals and civic responsibility.

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