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Video: truth(R) Asks: 'Do You Have What it Takes?'

New Campaign Explores Decisions Made by the Tobacco Industry, Impact on Americans

WASHINGTON, June 1 /PRNewswire/ -- Each and every day in America, 1,200 people die from tobacco-related diseases -- from heart disease and cancers, to emphysema and strokes. The latest advertising campaign from the truth(R) youth smoking prevention campaign explores the kinds of decisions tobacco industry executives undertake -- decisions that make for a successful, but deadly business.

To view the Multimedia News Release, go to:

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The ad campaign, called Do You Have What It Takes? asks real-life job-seekers whether they would be willing to participate in the types of decisions and situations that tobacco industry executives have made or encountered. The new campaign rolls out at the end of May with television, print, cinema and online advertisements, along with a new Web site and social-networking elements.

Despite the national recession, the tobacco industry remains a very profitable and stable industry. However, even with economic hardship, recent research studies find -- if given the choice -- many Americans would choose not to work in the industry and already have a negative opinion of the tobacco industry. A recent survey, conducted by the American Legacy Foundation and Harris Interactive, revealed that:

  • 82% of teens aged 13-18 would not work for a tobacco company. (Legacy Media Tracking Online, Winter 2008/2009)
  • 71% of them would like to see the cigarette companies go out of business. (LMTO)
  • 75% of teens polled said they believed that cigarette companies lie. (LMTO)
  • 76% think that cigarette companies should not be allowed to sell a product that harms people. (LMTO)
  • 79% of teens agreed that cigarette companies want teens to believe that smoking is cool. (LMTO)
  • 71% of the teens surveyed felt that cigarette companies do not care whether or not young people smoke. (LMTO)

The Legacy survey -- fielded online in late 2007 -- surveyed more than 1,800 teens across the country.

Additionally, according to a separate Harris Interactive poll: the tobacco industry maintained its position from last year as one of the least reputable industries in America. For 2009, the industry was joined at the bottom (11%) in a tie with the troubled financial services industry. (Harris Interactive RQ survey)

Along with the court of public opinion, a court of law recently weighed in on the behavior of the tobacco industry. A May 22 decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit upheld a lower court decision finding that the industry engaged in a pattern of widespread fraud and deception -- with deadly health effects for the American public -- for a period of more than 50 years. The three-judge panel found "the [lower] court had before it sufficient evidence from which to conclude that Defendants' executives, who directed the activities for the Defendant corporations and their joint entities, knew about the negative health consequences of smoking, the addictiveness and manipulation of nicotine, the harmfulness of secondhand smoke and the concept of smoker compensation, which makes light cigarettes no less harmful than regular cigarettes and possibly more."

Do You Have What it Takes? -- BACKGROUND and DETAILS

For its latest advertising campaign, truth(R) set up a mock recruiting office in New York City and invited real-life job seekers to interview for executive-level positions. Once in the interview, the candidates were questioned by a trained improvisational actor posing as the recruiter. The interactions were recorded by hidden cameras and, though many of the questions were scripted, the reactions of the candidates were real.

The different television advertisements reveal people's reactions to being asked how they would handle a variety of situations relating to the tobacco industry. Some of the situations included:

  • whether they had a problem with selling a product that kills 1200 people every day.
  • whether they thought changing the name of the company was a reasonable way to avoid bad publicity.
  • if they could "plead the Fifth." The interviewer then informs the job candidate that a tobacco industry executive pleaded the Fifth Amendment 97 times during a deposition in 1997.
  • whether they had qualms about selling a product that kills someone every 6.5 seconds.

Additional campaign elements include print, Web and cinema.

Visit the truth(R) pressroom of the American Legacy Foundation for full details on the campaign.

    Press Contact:
    Stephen Winkler
    the ad*itive

SOURCE American Legacy Foundation
Copyright©2009 PR Newswire.
All rights reserved

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