Sunday, February 19, 2006

PM cares about your health?

It's really hard to know what to make of the cigarette companies' attempts at promoting good health messages. What are we to think when we see Philip Morris telling us in a television spot that smoking is addictive, harmful and hard to quit? "Oh, yea! You finally caught on, ol' PM. Glad you realized what the rest of us know now — or what you knew a long time ago. You're so good to tell us the truth." While meanwhile this and other companies continue to make money off the very habits they're denouncing.

I highlight this commercial in particular, as opposed to the ones about preventing kids from smoking, because that behavior can lead to illegal activites in most places. But does this latest community/PR effort really make us feel any better about the firm? If they really cared about adults' health, wouldn't they just get out of the tobacco business altogether? Are there other companies with public relations campaigns that seem diametrically opposed to the success of their primary products?

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