Yes, you read the title correctly. Imagine trying to put a positive spin to a product that is associated with the deaths of billions of people worldwide. Most tobacco brands wouldn’t even dare to traverse in such a topic, but no, that wouldn’t stop cigarette company, Philip Morris, to try any stunts to get some positive PR, whenever it can.
Back in 2001, Philip Morris released a study conducted in the Czech Republic proving that smoker’s deaths had a positive effect financially for the Czech government.
The tobacco giant conducted a study in response to the Czech government’s stance that the financial costs of smoking cigarettes far outweigh its benefits. According to Philip Morris: Smoking resulted in a net gain of $47 million, that includes savings “between 943 million and 1.2 billion korunas (about $24 million-to-$30 million) in health-care, pension and public-housing costs due to the early deaths of smokers.”
Obviously, the report was met with outrage, especially in the United States. Philip Morris, based in New York sent out an apology letter to the Czech Republic’s health minister and the head of Parliament.
Philip Morris mentioned that they sincerely regretted the financing and release of such a study and the diseases caused by the smoking of cigarettes is a terrible thing, and nothing good can come out of it.
An ad speaking against the report was sponsored by the Washington-based American Legacy Foundation and appeared in various newspapers in the city.
The ad shows a corpse with the toe tag that reads ”$1,227 — That’s how much a study sponsored by Philip Morris said the Czech Republic saves on health care, pensions and housing every time a smoker dies.”
Do you think Tobacco companies like Philip Morris should even try to put a positive spin on cigarettes or would it be better for them to give up any chance of trying to make a product that is known for diseases and death to be shown in a positive light?
Let us know in the comments below and stay tuned for the next article from the #BlastFromThePast PR Crisis series.
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